The Black Phone Has Been Pushed Back To A Summer Release

If you were looking forward to seeing "The Black Phone" a few short weeks from now, prepare to be bummed out. The upcoming horror film already had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest in Austin back in September, at which time, /Film's own Eric Vespe gave it a positive review. It was originally scheduled to hit theaters on January 28, 2022, but by the time the first trailer arrived in October, its release date had been pushed back a week to February 4, 2022. Now, the film's distributor, Universal Pictures, is postponing the release of "The Black Phone" even further to June 24, 2022.

Variety does not give a reason for the postponement, but it seems likely this is happening because of the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. There has been a lot of buzz around "The Black Phone," which is based on a short story by Joe Hill and which currently has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. So it's also possible that Universal sees potential for this film as a crowd-pleasing horror adventure in the vein of "It" (based on the novel by Hill's father, Stephen King) and wants to capitalize on it as a summer release.

"The Black Phone" is set to reunite the "Doctor Strange" team of director Scott Derrickson and screenwriter C. Robert Cargill with Jason Blum and Ethan Hawke, the producer and star of their first collaboration, "Sinister." Blum has said that it's the "scariest movie" he's ever made, which says a lot coming from a producer with so many well-known horror credits to his name through his Blumhouse Productions label.

Could The Black Phone's Delay Lead to a Domino Effect?

Hearing this news about "The Black Phone" and its delay has me wondering if this is just an isolated occurrence, or if we could start to see more films follow suit, similar to what happened at the outset of the pandemic when "No Time to Die" led the way for the early wave of theatrical postponements.

Another major studio, Warner Bros., just recently said that it is sticking to its guns about releasing all of its 2022 films in theaters, while the box-office forecast for "Spider-Man: No Way Home" this weekend already has it projected to break pandemic records. If the spread of Omicron continues to worsen, people's health and safety is paramount, of course, so we'll just have to wait and see what happens as we move into 2022.

On Twitter, Cargill himself responded to having "The Black Phone" delayed by saying, "Sad that we can't share it sooner, but we aren't changing a frame before we do."

Here's the official synopsis for "The Black Phone:"

Finney Shaw, a shy but clever 13-year-old boy, is abducted by a sadistic killer and trapped in a soundproof basement where screaming is of little use. When a disconnected phone on the wall begins to ring, Finney discovers that he can hear the voices of the killer's previous victims. And they are dead set on making sure that what happened to them doesn't happen to Finney.

Once again, the new release date for "The Black Phone" is June 24, 2022.