'Black Widow' And 'West Side Story' Delayed Until 2021 As Disney Shuffles Release Dates Once Again

Disney has pushed back its entire fall theatrical release schedule by several months, moving films like Marvel's Black Widow and Steven Spielberg's West Side Story to 2021. Kenneth Branagh's Death on the Nile, originally set to premiere in theaters in October 2020, has been pushed back to December, while 2021 films like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals have been moved deeper into 2021. The only major fall film to keep its release date is Pixar's Soul, which stays in its late November release slot, despite expectations that it would be delayed or get dropped on Disney+.Variety broke the news that Disney has delayed the release of its fall blockbusters Black WidowWest Side Story, and Death on the Nile by several months, moving the first two to 2021 while the Kenneth Branagh murder mystery gets a new December 18, 2020 theatrical release. Black Widow, which was set for a November 6 release, has been moved to May 7, 2021, while West Side Story has been moved back a full year, to a December 10, 2021 release date instead of December 18, 2020. The latter was expected to be a major Oscars contender, as Spielberg's first musical, which may explain its full-year postponement.

Meanwhile, future 2021 releases like Marvel's Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals have been moved further into 2021, with Marvel's first Asian-led movie Shang-Chi moving from May 7, 2021 to July 9, 2021, while the Eternals, directed by Chloé Zhao (currently getting Oscar buzz for her festival darling Nomadland), moves from February 12, 2021 to November 5, 2021.

In lesser-known titles, the Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas thriller Deep Water has also moved from November 13, 2020 to August 13, 2021.

Oddly, the only major movie to keep its fall release date is Pixar's Soul, which industry insiders expect may get delayed or get released on Disney+. But with Disney virtually vacating November (they even pushed back a mid-budget thriller over Soul!), it's probably only a matter of time before Disney drops the animated movie on Disney+, or perhaps gives it an early VOD release as it did with its other animated features Onward and Frozen II.

However, two films will actually be released earlier on the release schedule. The King's Man, previously set for February 26, 2021, will move up to February 12, 2021. And the horror film The Empty Man, based on Cullen Bunn and Vanesa R. Del Rey's graphic novel of same name and starring James Badge Dale, has been pushed up to October 23, 2020 instead of December 4, 2020 (apparently getting the New Mutants treatment by Disney, of letting it quietly die in theaters).

Well that's it, our box office this year is done. With Disney's release date shifts, analysts project that domestic grosses this year will decline 70% to 80% — our box office peak was reached earlier by Bad Boys for Life, apparently.