RIP to the 2020 film year. If the shambling corpse of the movie industry this year wasn’t already dead, it is now. Disney has pulled out of the year nearly entirely, removing Free Guy and Death on the Nile from its release schedule. Aside from potentially Nomadland, these were the final two major movies — both produced under Fox — that Disney had planned to release in theaters this year. The studio has not announced new release dates for either but could move both films to streaming like they recently did with Soul.
Free Guy stars Ryan Reynolds as a video game NPC who suddenly becomes aware of what he is and looked to originally be a mid-market action film before the pandemic, but it became one of the few major films to hold onto a 2020 release date, with Disney rescheduling it for Dec. 11 after delaying it past a July release. Meanwhile, Death on the Nile is the sequel to Murder on the Orient Express, starring Kenneth Branagh as Agatha Christie’s famous detective Hercule Poirot. The film had already been delayed multiple times, but now it has lost its Dec. 18 release date.
This leaves theaters with very little to look forward to over the next two months. With No Time to Die heading into 2021, the only big blockbuster coming out now is Wonder Woman 1984, and given these moves by Disney, it isn’t hard to imagine Warner Bros. pushing that back further as well. Universal is still holding strong to some release dates, however, with The Croods: A New Age landing on Nov. 25, but that’s hardly a hotly anticipated film.
The question now is where these films will end up. Disney has recently begun restructuring to focus its entertainment efforts on its streaming platforms, and both Fall Guy and Death on the Nile are small enough films that it wouldn’t be surprising to see them end up on either Disney+ or Hulu. However, the studio might not see them as big enough draws to warrant the loss of box office.