The novel coronavirus is doing a number on the movie business.
Already, the closings of movie theater chains such as Regal, AMC, and Cinemark has caused Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) to cut short the theatrical run of its Onward Pixar feature film, and move the movie to OTC streaming over Disney+. Frozen 2 made its debut on Disney+ a bit earlier than usual as well -- probably much to the relief of work-from-home parents wondering how to keep their kids entertained in the early days of quarantine. And Disney's upcoming Artemis Fowl will go direct-to-streaming, instead of making its debut in theaters first.
Upcoming films Mulan, Jungle Cruise, and Black Widow (from Marvel) will all be pushed back later in the calendar year, to dates that will with any luck permit them to come out in theaters instead of OTC. And now comes the latest postponement announcement. As Variety reports, the theatrical release of Pixar film Soul will be postponed from June 19 to Nov. 20. As the entertainment magazine points out, with this latest postponement, Disney doesn't have a single new film scheduled for theatrical release through the end of July.
So at least one movie company seems to think that the coronavirus pandemic, and the movie theater closings it has necessitated, won't be over until then.
Variety notes that Disney isn't alone in its pessimism, either. Sony (NYSE:SONY), Warner Bros. (now owned by AT&T (NYSE:T), and Paramount (a division of ViacomCBS (NASDAQ: VIAC)) have also postponed theatrical release of major tentpole action films in their attempts to sidestep COVID-19 -- and salvage their box office revenues for this year.