Hollywood 2020: Black Widow, West Side Story, Death on the Nile will Now Open in 2021

Disney has postponed the release of fall blockbusters such as Marvel’s “Black Widow,” Spielberg’s “West Side Story” and Kenneth Branagh’s “Death on the Nile” by several months.

The results are bad news for the exhibition industry, which is facing fierce struggle after closing for months due to coronavirus.

The studio has kept the late November release date of Pixar’s “Soul,” surprising some in the industry who had expected the animated family film to either move to a later perch or get released on Disney Plus. The moves set off a cascade of distribution shifts that will upend the theatrical landscape for months.

Other Marvel releases, such as “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and “Eternals” will all debut deeper into 2021. Disney’s release date shifts all but guarantee that box office revenues this year will reach a nadir — analysts have already projected that domestic grosses would decline between 70% to 80% due to the pandemic.

“Black Widow,” starring Scarlett Johansson, was set to debut on November 6, a date that started to look increasingly unlikely as movie theaters on the coasts remained closed.

The studio was eyeing a new time to unveil the film on the big screen after the disappointing performance of Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” in the U.S. and the delay of “Wonder Woman 1984.”

“Black Widow” will now open on May 7, 2021.

“Death on the Nile” — a follow-up to 2017’s box office hit “Murder on the Orient Express” — will bow on December 18, 2020, vacating its original Oct. 23 premiere. “Death on the Nile,” a murder mystery based on Agatha Christie’s novel, appeals to an older moviegoers, a demographic that might be hesitant to return to indoor spaces during the pandemic.

West Side Story: December 10, 2021

“West Side Story,” which marks Spielberg’s first foray into musicals, was expected to be a key Oscar contender. An awards career may still be in its future, but not at this year’s Oscars. “West Side Story” will launch a year later than expected, on December 10, 2021 instead of December 18, 2020.

Due to the interconnected nature of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Black Widow’s” move shifted back other installments in the superhero franchise.

“Eternals,” a comic book adventure about a super-powered alien race, will debut on Nov. 5, 2021. It was previously dated for February 12, 2021. Chloé Zhao directed the film, which stars Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan and Kumail Nanjiani.

Nanjiani endorsed the move on Twitter, saying “Marvel made the right and responsible decision.”

“Nothing is more important than health & lives,” he wrote. “I can’t tell ppl to go to a movie theater until I feel safe going to one.”

And “Shang Chi,” Marvel’s first film with an Asian lead, has moved from May 7, 2021 to July 9, 2021. Destin Daniel Cretton will direct a cast that includes Simu Liu as the titular martial arts hero.

“Deep Water,” Adrian Lyne’s thriller with Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas, will no longer open on November 13, 2020. It will instead debut on August 13, 2021.

Two films will actually bow earlier in the schedule. “The Empty Man,” a horror film with James Badge Dale, will be released on Oct. 23, 2020 instead of on Dec. 4, 2020.

“The King’s Man,” previously dated on Feb. 26, 2021, will move ahead two weeks to Feb. 12. However, the latest entry in the spy franchise was initially intended to launch this month.