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It's official: Disney is delaying Black Widow due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The next Marvel blockbuster was scheduled to hit theaters on May 1 as the summer movie season got underway. But as theaters close nationwide because of concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus, Disney officially announced on Tuesday that Black Widow's release is being postponed.
A Quiet Place Part II, Mulan, and the latest Fast & Furious were among the major films to previously have their releases postponed, and that was before AMC and Regal both closed all of their locations throughout the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended no gatherings of more than 50 people take place for the next eight weeks, and in a Monday press conference, President Trump suggested the coronavirus crisis could potentially last until August.
As theaters close their doors, some studios have started taking the unusual step of releasing films for home viewing months early. Typically, movies can't be watched at home until about 90 days after they hit theaters. But Universal on Monday announced it would make its films like The Invisible Man and The Hunt, which were released in theaters within the past few weeks, available on demand this Friday and also release Trolls World Tour in theaters and on demand at the same time. Warner Bros. will also release the DC film Birds of Prey on demand next week after it hit theaters in early February.
Speculation has run rampant over whether a major blockbuster like Black Widow could be released digitally rather than be delayed until theaters widely resume operations, though such a move still seems unlikely. So far, major tentpole films like No Time to Die and Fast & Furious have faced delays of many months so they can receive a wide theatrical release once it becomes safe to do so. Disney has not set a new date for Black Widow.