A Quiet Place Part II was due to be released domestically on March 20th. That will now not be happening, however, as the film has been pulled from the release schedule due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Writer and director John Krasinski announced the decision on Twitter, explaining to fans that:
“One of the things I’m most proud of is that people have said our movie is one you have to see all together. Well due to the ever-changing circumstances of what’s going on in the world around us, now is clearly not the time to do that. As insanely excited as we are for all of you to see this movie… I’m gonna wait to release the film til we CAN all see it together! So here’s to our group movie date! See you soon!”
His reasoning sounds pretty laudable, though a decision like this will inevitably have been taken for primarily financial reasons. With governments around the world restricting large public gatherings and widespread paranoia about Coronavirus, cinema attendance is going to take a huge whack. For a taste of what may be in store at the domestic box office, just look at Japan, where cinemas have refunded tickets, major releases have been postponed and some theaters have closed full-stop until the outbreak is fully contained.
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As such, any films released over the next month or so will probably have to revise down their financial expectations considerably. We’ve already seen new Bond movie No Time To Die pushed back six months after the studio conducted a “thorough evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace,” with estimations that the pic could have lost $300 million if it’d opened during the outbreak.
Similar calculations must be going on at other major studios. In fact, I think it’s entirely possible that Disney will end up delaying the release of Black Widow until later in the year, though who knows where we’ll stand come May 1st. If Coronavirus remains an issue through the summer, then we could see some even more dramatic reshuffles in the release schedule, with studios desperate to avoid what should be surefire hits losing money.
However, there is another option here. If audiences are required to self-isolate at home during the outbreak, why not release some of these new theatrical films digitally rather than in cinemas? I know there’s probably a myriad of contractual and financial reasons not to do this, but giving people who’re bored at home something new and exciting to watch would surely generate a lot of goodwill.