Aretha Franklin Biopic Respect and Rumble Delayed

Last week, Sony Pictures delayed Ghostbusters: Afterlife from its March 2021 release date for a hopefully more certain release date later that summer. It turns out they aren’t the only ones worried about the early months of next year being a viable release window in theaters.

MGM has pushed back their Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, and Paramount Pictures is delaying their animated monster wrestling movie Rumble, both previously slated for release in mid-January 2021. Meanwhile, MGM has also removed Tomb Raider 2 from their release calendar, which had been sitting on the schedule for a March 2021 release. Get the details below.

The Wrap has the news on the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect being delayed from its previously set release date of January 15, 2021 all the way back to August 13, 2021. That’s a seven month push, and hopefully that’s enough that MGM won’t have to move it again. The studio supposedly hopes to follow in the footsteps of Oscar contenders like BlacKkKlansman and The Help as movies that were released in the late summer that still went on to get plenty of awards love.

Respect follows Jennifer Hudson as the legendary singer, focusing on her rise from belting out gospel tunes in her father’s church choir to becoming a chart-topping, Grammy-winning international superstar. The cast also includes Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Mary J. Blige and Tituss Burgess, and the film marks the feature directorial debut of Liesl Tommy (Jessica Jones, The Walking Dead). You can watch the first trailer right here.

At the same time, MGM has also taken the Tomb Raider sequel off the calendar after being set for a March 19, 2021 release sometime in 2019. It’s easy to imagine that MGM just forgot that this project was even on the early 2021 release calendar, because it’s been sitting there this whole time despite not shooting a single frame yet. We’d just assumed that this wasn’t going to happen since there’s barely five months until release, but now we have official confirmation.

Ben Wheatley was attached to direct Tomb Raider 2 in 2019, and for now, it seems like he’s still on board. But he also just recently boarded another sequel, The Meg 2, so maybe he’s not involved anymore and the news just hasn’t been reported yet. Alicia Vikander is set to reprise her role as Lara Croft, but we’re not sure when/if this movie will still end up moving forward.

Meanwhile, Deadline has word that Paramount Pictures is also leaving January 2021 for hopefully greener pastures.  The studio has shifted their animated sci-fi sports comedy Rumble back to May 14, 2021.

The collaboration between Paramount Animation and WWE Studios is set in a world where monster wrestling is a global sport and monsters are superstar athletes. The story focuses on Winnie (Geraldine Viswanathan of Blockers) as she seeks to follow in her father’s footsteps by coaching a loveable underdog monster (Will Arnett) into a wrestling champion. Feels like there’s a Real Steel angle in there but with the boxing swapped out for wrestling, likely to appeal to the millions of WWE fans out there.

Speaking of which, the cast includes WWE wrestlers Becky Lynch and Roman Reigns as a couple of the main characters, and Terry Crews is joining them too. The rest of the cast includes Tony Danza, Stephen A. Smith, Jimmy Tatro, Ben Schwartz and Michael Buffer.

Rumble is directed by Hamish Grieve, who also wrote the script with Matt Lieberman, based on the graphic novel by Rob Harrel. You can watch the teaser trailer over here.

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