In the latest news from the utterly devastated world of theatrical film releases, Disney has officially pulled their two major December films from 20th Century Studios, Free Guy and Death on the Nile, from the release schedule. Neither film has been given a new release date as of yet.
It’s yet another blow to the theater industry operating in the U.S.—which is mostly just AMC and independent theaters at this point—which were depending on major films like the Ryan Reynolds-starring Free Guy to bring in audiences throughout the holiday window. But with the coronavirus pandemic reaching new heights in terms of daily infections, one has to wonder if the likes of AMC won’t be forced to undergo another total shutdown, as Regal Cinemas continues to do.
Right now, Disney’s move leaves Wonder Woman 1984 from Warner Bros. as the one major film scheduled for a theatrical Christmas 2020 release, but as the days go by the likelihood of it also being moved to 2021 only increases. Tom Hank’s News of the World is also currently scheduled for that date, but it would no doubt be a much smaller release than the likes of a Wonder Woman sequel.
Free Guy, meanwhile, was meant to arrive on Dec. 11, and Kenneth Branagh’s ensemble cast mystery Death on the Nile was supposed to open on Dec. 18. That film is a sequel to 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express, which also starred Branagh as detective Hercule Poirot. They would have arrived to markets that still may have theaters closed in major U.S. film hubs such as NYC and Los Angeles, as well as reduced access to Western Europe, which is also seeing more COVID-19 lockdowns.
One really has to wonder how much longer this can go on, for the theatrical exhibition industry. In the meantime, you can check out the most recent Free Guy trailer below.