While many had begun to believe that cancellations and delays due to Covid-19 were a thing of the past, Paramount has given people another reminder that the pandemic is not over yet despite many countries deciding to scale back lock-downs and restrictions such as mask wearing and limited numbers of people being allowed in indoor venues. The rising number of Delta variant cases of Covid across the US has seen the company pull Clifford the Big Red Dog from its September release slot, over fears that families will not feel it safe enough to make a trip to the cinema, especially in areas such as Los Angeles and New York where the number of cases is still rapidly rising.
The live action version of Clifford the Big Red Dog was due to arrive in theaters on September 17 and despite that being almost two months away, the studio has taken the action of preemptively delaying the release, even though the trailer and other online marketing have been hitting the mark with target audiences. The general view of the studios is that while the Covid situation will get better, it is likely to get worse first. The movie was also meant to debut as part of the Toronto International Film Festival, but there is no mention of the movie on the festival website and the dedicated page for the canine film redirects to the main festival webpage.
The main question now is whether Paramount will continue to seek a cinematic release or will simply put out the feature directly on Paramount+, just like the Spongebob Movie: Sponge on The Run and Mark Wahlberg movie Infinite. While those movies seemed to come an go without much fanfare, Clifford's trailer has pulled in over 130 million views in a week, which the studio may believe will mean a whole new bunch of subscribers in the waiting if they were to go down that route.
The Covid pandemic was thought to have been brought under control a couple of months ago, when cinemas reopened their doors and began seeing patrons returning for movies such as Godzilla vs Kong, A Quiet Place Part II and recently Black Widow. While many of these offerings were also made available on premium streaming platforms, the growing ticket totals suggested that the worst was over and things were starting to get back to normal.
In the last few weeks however, there have been multiple movie and TV projects halted due to Covid outbreaks, including Indiana Jones 5, Bridgerton and Game of Thrones prequel series House of The Dragon. Last week, Arthurian legend movie The Green Knight was pulled from its release in the UK due to the high volume of Delta variant cases in the country, and as yet has not been rescheduled for release. With Clifford now becoming the first to be delayed in the US, along with rumors that the same could be about to happen to Marvel's Shang Chi, it looks like we are not as far out of the woods as first thought. This story was originally covered at Slashfilm