Reprinted from The Guardian by Ben Child on October 9, 2020.
In a world where absolutes are increasingly hard to find, one thing is certain: in 2021 there are going to be a hell of a lot of sci-fi, fantasy and superhero movies released in a hell of a short time.
Reports this week that major tentpoles such as Denis Villeneuve’s Dune won’t now be released until next year due to the inability of many of the world’s cinemas to open at full capacity (if at all) are just the tip of the iceberg. The damage to 2020’s slate of theatrical releases was already done.
Last month’s news that Marvel’s Black Widow, originally due to open in March this year, is now being primed for a 7 May 2021 release, means that the Disney-owned studio now has four films set for release next year. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will follow in July, with Eternals in early November and the as-yet-untitled sequel to Spider-Man: Far from Home arriving just before Christmas. Sony Pictures, meanwhile, will bring us Spider-verse offerings Morbius (in March) and Venom: Let There Be Carnage (in June). It is perhaps fortunate that Warner Brothers-owned DC is still tentatively rebalancing its superhero universe after a number of misfires: right now the studio only has The Suicide Squad primed for release in August, though nobody would be surprised if Wonder Woman 1984 gets bumped from its current Christmas Day release date into the following year.
That’s just the superhero flicks. The James Bond movie No Time to Die has already been bumped from 12 November this year to 2 April next, leading pretty directly to the announcement by Cineworld that the cinema chain will temporarily close all 127 sites in Britain this week and all 543 of its Regal Cinema venues in the US. Godzilla vs Kong, Ghostbusters: Afterlife and Disney’s Cruella are just three of the other major movies that have been shifted into 2021, and while the natural rollover effect means that 2022 is also looking pretty busy, it hasn’t stopped next year looking positively overloaded. …