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The 2020 theatrical calendar lost two more high-profile titles on Thursday as Shawn Levy’s action-comedy Free Guy and Kenneth Branagh’s sequel Death on the Nile delayed their releases amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Both films are from 20th Century, which is owned by Disney.
Starring Ryan Reynolds and directed by Levy, Free Guy was set to hit theaters on Dec. 11. The sci-fi action-comedy is now unset.
Death on the Nile was most recently set to open on Dec. 18. The star-studded sequel to Murder on the Orient Express does not yet have a new date.
In the U.S., moviegoing has yet to recover from the pandemic — 55 percent of theaters remain shut, including in such major markets as New York City and Los Angeles — while cinemas have begun closing down again across Europe because of a surge in novel coronavirus cases.
Distressed theater owners that have been able to reopen domestically are mostly having to rely on smaller and catalogue titles to feed customers. So far, the only Hollywood tentpole to play on the big screen this fall is Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, from Warner Bros., while most other event titles moved.
Two exceptions are Universal’s Freaky (Nov. 13) and Universal/DreamWorks Animations’ Thanksgiving offering Croods: The New Age (Nov. 25). The studio has provided itself cushion by striking a historic deal with AMC Theatres to shorten the theatrical window and make its films available early on PVOD.
Otherwise, the only remaining live-action tentpole on the 2020 calendar is Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984, from Warner Bros. The superhero sequel, which has already been delayed several times due to the pandemic, is presently set for Dec. 25.
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Red Sea Film Festival