Sony Pictures has delayed the release of Peter Rabbit 2 by more than four months to August 7. This is the latest major Hollywood release to shift its release date due to the growing coronavirus outbreak, which is having a major impact on the global box office. The question now becomes, will other major Hollywood releases follow suit?
According to a new report, Sony has decided to delay the domestic and international release of Peter Rabbit 2, which was scheduled to roll out overseas on March 27, with the U.S. release date scheduled for April 3. That was timed for the movie to arrive in time for Easter, which would have likely given it a boost at the box office. Theater chains were also likely counting on that revenue, which will no longer be there. Tom Nunan, a lecturer at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, had this to say in an interview wich CNBC.
"I think in terms of the exhibitors, AMC, Cinemark and others, I doubt that this is money that they will be able to make up in the calendar year. I think this is going to be a hit in the way that cruise lines or out-of-home amusements are being hit."
Recently, MGM also delayed the release of No Time to Die until November. The reason for this is that many overseas markets have been hit hard by the coronavirus, which has impacted the box office in a major way. Chinese theaters have been shut down for weeks, France has temporarily closed quite a few theaters and Italy recently declared a nationwide quarantine. Given that the first Peter Rabbit made 67 percent of its money outside of the U.S., the delay makes sense, from a financial standpoint.
Other major upcoming releases such as Black Widow and Fast & Furious 9 haven't shifted release dates yet, and the indication is that they won't. But as more theaters close, and as COVID-19 continues to spread in the U.S., pressure may mount, not just for these titles, but any major movie coming down the pipeline. This will not only impact the studios, but theater chains as well. AMC's stock has dropped more than 40 percent, with Cinemark also down more than 30 percent. With no end in sight to the theater closure in China, things seem like they're going to get worse before they get better.
Peter Rabbit, released in 2018, grossed an impressive $351 million worldwide. The sequel sees James Corden returning to voice the main character, with a supporting cast that includes Domhnall Gleeson(Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, About Time), Rose Byrne (Instant Family, Bridesmaids), David Oyelowo (Selma, Don't Let Go), Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Widows) and Margot Robbie (Bombshell, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood). Will Gluck, who directed the original, returns as well. This news comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter.