Now declared a global pandemic, Coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused havoc across the entertainment industry. From Hollywood to London, the outbreak has caused delays and shutdowns to many major TV and film productions – and even some major stars, such as Tom Hanks, have been hit by the disease.
While most of the disruptions have been felt in China (where the virus originated), there have been plenty of major setbacks for UK screen consumers. Below are the biggest delays to expect from COVID-19, with the list to be updated as more news is announced.
What movies have been delayed?
Originally scheduled to be released 1st May 2020 in the UK and North America, Scarlett Johansson’s solo Marvel movie has now had its release date pushed back.
Disney/Marvel are yet to confirm exactly how long Black Widow will be postponed, with no new release date currently set for any territories.
The sequel was set to hit theatres on 3rd July but is now scheduled for 2nd July 2021, originally Sing 2’s release date. This move marks the first July release to be postponed due to coronavirus.
A statement from Illumination boss Chris Meledandri read: “In response to the severity of the situation in France, we are temporarily closing our Illumination Mac Guff studio in Paris. With this decision we are abiding by the French Government’s guidelines and doing everything possible to slow the spread of the virus as we care for our artists and their families.
“This means we will be unable to finish ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ in time for our planned global releases in late June and early July. While we all grapple with the enormity of this crisis, we must put the safety and protection of our employees above all. We look forward to finding a new release date for the return of Gru and the Minions.”
Although originally set to be rolled out in the UK on 19th March 2020, studio Paramount has now pulled the film from release (12th March). The sequel has now moved to 4th September 2020.
In a statement announcing the delay, Paramount said: “We believe in and support the theatrical experience, and we look forward to bringing this film to audiences this year once we have a better understanding of the impact of this pandemic on the global theatrical marketplace.”
Director and star of the first film John Krasinski added on Instagram that “due to the ever-changing circumstances of what’s going on in the world around us, now is clearly not the right time” for the film to be released.
The much-hyped 25th instalment in the spy series was originally scheduled for a 3rd April release before being moved back seven months. On 4th March, MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli announced that they had moved this date to 12th November 2020 after “careful consideration and thorough evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace”.
The move is expected to cost MGM $30-50 million in the short term, according to reports.
Peter Rabbit 2
The follow-up to the 2018 animated adventure has been delayed by four months due to Coronavirus. Although the release date was first set as 27th March, the movie – which features the voices of James Corden and Margot Robbie – has now been delayed to 7th August.
The latest instalment in the MI franchises was one of the first movies to halt production amid coronavirus concerns. On 24th February, the film cancelled a three-week shoot in Venice, Italy.
The movie is still scheduled for a release on 23rd July, 2021. It is not yet clear if the delay to filming will impact the film’s release.
The Matt Reeves-directed Batman film starring Robert Pattinson as the caped crusader has gone into a two week hiatus due to mounting concerns related to the virus.
It is unclear if this delay will have any effect on its currently scheduled release date in June 2021.
The live-action remake has currently been pulled from cinemas, with a new date not yet given. The US date has also been pulled with Disney announcing delays to Mulan, The New Mutants and Antlers late on 12th March.
The UK premiere of the film has been scaled back, the red carpet event in Leicester Square reduced to “a contained indoor screening”.
The film, originally slated for a 2018 release, has experienced another delay due to Coronavirus. On March 12th, the Fox/Disney announced the film would not be released on 10th April 2020 as planned.
The latest instalment in the Fast and Furious franchise has been moved back by 11 months due to Coronavirus. F9 was due out in May, but will now not skid into cinemas until April 2021.
In a statement on Twitter, the film franchise said: “While we know there is disappointment in having to wait a little while longer, this move is made with the safety of everyone as our foremost consideration. Moving will allow our global family to experience our new chapter together.”
The follow up to 2017’s highly acclaimed Wonder Women has been delayed by 2 months – with the release date moving to 14th August from the originally planned 5th June.
Shortly after the news broke, star Gal Gadot tweeted, “In these dark and scary times, I am looking forward to a brighter future ahead.
“Where we can share the power of cinema together again. Excited to redate our WW84 film to August 14, 2020. I hope everyone is safe.”
The reboot of The Matrix franchise, which is being directed by Lana Wachowski and will see Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne Moss reprise their roles from the original trilogy, has halted production, which was taking place in Berlin after filming had previously been completed in San Francisco.
It is not yet clear what effect this will have on the film’s release date – which is currently scheduled for May 2021.
Production on the Avatar sequels, which have been filming in New Zealand, has also been suspended.
Producer Jon Landeau told The New Zealand Herald, “We’ve delayed it. We had plans to come down Friday night with a group of people and start back up and we made the decision to hold off and continue working here [Los Angeles], and come down there a little bit later than we’d planned.”
“If I told you we are going to know something in two weeks I’d be lying. I might not be wrong – even a broken clock is right twice a day. But I would be lying because I don’t know…We’re in the midst of a global crisis and this is not about the film industry. I think everybody needs to do now whatever we can do, as we say here, to flatten the [coronavirus] curve.”
The hotly anticipated Top Gun sequel has joined the ever-growing list of movies that have been postponed amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Like the ’80s classic, it’s led by Tom Cruise was scheduled for a release date of 24th June. It has now moved from summer to Christmas, with its new release date set for 23rd December 2020.
Antebellum, Run & Spiral
As reported by Deadline, Lionsgate has delayed the release dates of several films that were scheduled for the studio, including the Saw sequel Spiral, which stars Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson, horror film Antellebum and thriller Run.
They were previously set to be released across April and May, but will remain undated for the time being, with a clear picture of when cinemas might reopen not yet available.
David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet
The documentary was set to air in cinemas and on Netflix on 16th April, but that release date has now been postponed.
A statement read: “This decision has been made by WWF together with its partners, including the Royal Albert Hall, with the health and safety of attendees [of the global premiere] in mind. We are currently looking at options for a release later this year and will update you as soon as new timings and arrangements have been confirmed.”
Judi Dench stars in the cinematic adaptation of the classic play, which sees a medium accidentally bring back a novelist’s cumbersome dead wife, causing trouble for the new one. Isla Fisher, Dan Stevens and Leslie Mann also star.
A spokesperson said: “In the interest of everybody’s health and safety in the weeks and months to come, and in order to bring our wonderful film to the widest possible audience, our release date has moved back from 1st May to 4th September 2020.”
A24’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s iconic play was set to star big names like Denzel Washington in the titular role and Frances McDormand as Lady Macbeth, but has now been delayed due to coronavirus.
The film is being directed by Joel Coen, without his brother Ethan. Deadline reported the news on Thursday.
Sony’s Jared Leto-led Marvel film won’t be making its 31st July 2020 release date. Instead, the Spider-Man spin-off will come out on 19th March 2021, about eight months later than originally planned.
Leto plays the titular scientist, who accidentally becomes a vampire while attempting to cure his blood disease. The obscure Marvel character’s film debut would have had links to events occurring in the MCU.
The second attempt at a Ghostbusters reboot, following Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig’s 2016 film, has moved its release date from 10th July 2020 to 5th March 2021.
The Jason Reitman-directed film stars Paul Rudd and side-steps the events of the McCarthy/Wiig reboot.
The big-screen adaptation of the popular video game starring Tom Holland has had a rocky road to production, with six directors leaving the project.
It was set to start shooting in April for its 5th March 2021 release date, but filming has been cancelled. The film’s new release date has been set to 8th October 2021.
The sequel to 2016’s Sing was scheduled to be released on 2nd July 2021, a date that has now gone to the Minions sequel. Instead, Sing 2 will now take Wicked’s intended release date of 22nd December 2021.
The animation sees the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Taron Egerton, Reese Whiterspoon and Tori Kelly reprise their roles as the lovable humanoid animals with impressive musical talent.
The long-gestating film adaptation of the musical is even further from becoming a reality. Sing 2 has now taken its intended December 2021 release date, with no news from Universal on when we can expect it to land instead.
What TV shows have been delayed?
The list of TV and streaming productions that have been delayed due to coronavirus is growing quickly. Here are some of the most prominent shows – we will attempt to update this article as more news arrives.
HBO’s satirical comedy-drama about an ageing media mogul and his scrapping adult children has been delayed, just as the show went into the early stages of pre-production for series three.
Stranger Things season 3 Netflix
The hit sci-fi is one of a slew of Netflix series affected by the outbreak – with the streaming platform suspending production on all of its scripted projects filming in the US and Canada for at least two weeks starting from Monday 16th March.
As with Netflix, US network FX has put production on several of its shows on hold – which includes Noah Hawley’s anthology series Fargo in addition to Donald Glover’s comedy Atlanta, drama series Snowfall and upcoming comic book adaptation Y: The Last Man.
Production on the Disney+/Marvel series has halted over Coronavirus concerns. The show was due to begin a shoot in Prague in early March, but this was cancelled after the Czech government imposed a series of restrictions on all travel and events in the country.
It’s currently not yet clear if this delay will push back the show’s August 2020 release date.
Filming on Tom Hiddleston’s Loki series has also been suspended until the virus is under control.
Amazon’s untitled Lord of the Rings television series has halted filming in New Zealand. It is unclear when production will resume on the gargantuan production, which reportedly has a $1 billion budget.
The BBC announced that it was shutting down filming on all of its continuing dramas, which includes EastEnders, Holby City and Casualty in addition to Doctors, River City and Pobol y Cwm.
As episodes are filmed weeks ahead, there are still plenty of episodes ready to go – but there will be a change to EastEnders broadcast pattern, with new episodes now airing only on Monday at 8pm and Tuesdays at 7.30pm.
Two of the BBC’s most popular shows have been forced to postpone filming due to the spread of the coronavirus. It is not yet clear when they will go back into production or to what extent this will delay their premiere dates.
It’s bad news for Britain’s favourite baking show. Production on for the 11th series was scheduled to begin next month, but has now been delayed due to coronavirus.
There is no news on when filming is due to begin, meaning that the show is unlikely to make its usual late August release. A Channel 4 spokesperson said: “We continue to monitor the situation and follow the advice of Public Health England and we will delay filming on Bake Off until it is safe to proceed.”
Sky has announced that it had shut-down production of the third season of historical drama series Britannia.
As reported by Deadline, a Sky spokesman said: “Due to the ongoing situation with coronavirus (COVID-19), Sky has taken the decision to suspend filming on the third series of Britannia.
“We are in discussions with the producers and the production team to discuss next steps. We are reviewing all shows that are currently in production to assess the safety of casts and crews.”
Celebrity Race Across The World
Production on the all-star version of Race Across The World has been delayed by BBC and producers Studio Lambert.
In a statement, the BBC said: “Celebrity Race Across the World involves contestants travelling across a number of different countries, and given that official advice in relation to specific countries is continually changing in line with the spread of Covid-19, Studio Lambert has decided to delay production on this series in consultation with and supported by the BBC.
“We will continue to review all productions on a case by case basis following the latest news and advice from the Foreign Office, World Health Organisation and Public Health England.”
Another BBC drama to halt production amid the crisis, missing persons series Baptiste suspended filming for its second season, which had been taking place in Hungary.
As reported by Deadline, a spokeswoman said: “In light of the spread of Covid-19, after much consideration, Two Brothers Pictures the producers of Baptiste have suspended filming in consultation with and supported by the BBC.”
Jeremy Clarkson has confirmed that the upcoming series of the Amazon motoring show has been put on hold.
The host has said on Twitter that filming will restart “when this virus business is settled” as “it’s making international travel tricky”.
Lookout Point TV announced on Twitter that production for the second series of Keeley Hawes’ comedy drama had been delayed.
The statement read: “Reluctantly we have decided to delay the start of production of Gentleman Jack series 2 due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency.
“Huge thanks to our cast and crew, and to our incredible, inspiring fans for their understanding.
“Sending everyone a bit of Anne Lister strength and energy in this difficult time.”
Another Keeley Hawes-led drama to be postponed is Honour, in which she plays a detective seeking for justice for Banaz Mahmod. Mahmod was murdered by her father and uncle after falling in love with someone of her choosing.
The series was scheduled for a late April release, but has now been delayed to autumn with a set date yet to be announced.
Shooting for the teen drama has shut down in Vancouver after it was discovered a crew member had come into contact with a COVID-19 sufferer. While medical evaluations are underway, production is postponed.
Phillip Schofield’s How To Spend It Well On Holiday
Schofield’s new travel series was due to start on 5th March, but was pulled from the schedules after a rise in coronavirus cases. It is not currently clear when the show will air.
Lorraine and Loose Women
ITV’s popular daytime programmes will stop airing live episodes as part of the broadcaster’s measures against coronavirus. Instead, Lorraine Kelly will appear on the final hour of Good Morning Britain and repeats of Loose Women will be aired in the show’s usual time slot.
Channel 4’s popular soap opera has halted filming due to risks posed by the coronavirus. As a result, it will scale back its schedule to airing only three times a week from Monday to Wednesday. A new companion series titled Hollyoaks Favourites will air on E4 on Thursdays and Fridays, revisiting classic episodes with introductions from Jorgie Porter and Kieron Richardson.
The girl band’s search for the next big pop band has been postponed amid rumours that their tour is also not going ahead (the top prize for the show would’ve been a spot as an opener on said tour).
The Search, which will be presented by Strictly contestant Chris Ramsey, was scheduled to premiere this spring, with a new release date yet to be announced.
The 16th series of The Apprentice was due to begin filming this spring, but production has now been postponed.
A BBC spokesperson confrimed: “In light of the spread of Covid-19, after much consideration, Boundless, the producers of The Apprentice, have postponed filming in consultation with and supported by the BBC.
“We will continue to review all productions on a case by case basis and will continue to follow the latest news and advice from the Foreign Office, World Health Organisation and Public Health England.”
The second season of Batman prequel Pennyworth has also temporarily suspended production. A Warner Bros. spokesperson told RadioTimes.com, ““With the rapidly changing events related to COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, Warner Bros. Television Group is halting production on some of our 70+ series and pilots currently filming or about to begin.
“The health and safety of our employees, casts and crews remains our top priority. During this time, we will continue to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control as well as local officials and public health professionals in each city where our productions are based.”
The third series of Bill Hader’s dark comedy had been in pre-production at HBO when the pandemic broke out, with production now suspended.
In a statement, a spokesperson for HBO said: “We are looking forward to resuming preproduction when it is safe and healthy for everyone working on our shows to do so. Where possible, our writers are continuing to write remotely.”
More US shows that are temporarily halting production…
- The Walking Dead
- Fear the Walking Dead
- The Walking Dead: World Beyond
- The Morning Show (Apple TV+)
- For All Mankind (Apple TV+)
- Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
- Lucifer (Netflix)
- WandaVision (Disney+)
- The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)
- Fear the Walking Dead (AMC)
- Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)
- The Righteous Gemstones (HBO)