How Has COVID-19 Affected Cinema Releases?

May 5, 2020

From EastEnders to the Olympics, it seems there are no end of casualties with the coronavirus. With all public gatherings postponed for the foreseeable, the outbreak has had a knock-on effect on the film and television industry, causing many films’ release dates to be moved.

When will cinemas re-open?

All UK cinemas are currently closed. Those with monthly memberships (i.e. unlimited cinema visits) have had their direct debits paused, and many fear this will spell the end of the UK cinema industry.

Over in the US, there is “no plan in sight” for cinemas to reopen, while over here in the UK, we could see anything from as early as July to late Christmas. Of course, just as other businesses are doing, the cinema industry is now doing its best to “pivot” its offering to maintain its customer base. For example:

What movies releases are being postponed?

For the most part, any movie that was planned for release in summer 2020 has been pushed back. That’s a whole lot of cinema releases for 2021. Here are a few of the top hits that we’ll have to wait a little longer for.

James Bond: No Time to Die

Things were shaken but not stirred for Daniel Craig’s final appearance as 007. The original April release date has now been pushed back to 12th November 2020.

A Quiet Place: Part II

The original opened to rave reviews back in 2018. Now, the disturbing tale’s sequel has moved from its March release date to 4th September 2020.


Continuing its series of live action remakes, Disney’s next instalment, Mulan, was originally scheduled for release on March 27th. It’s been pushed back to 24th July now – though this may be ambitious.

Fast and Furious 9

Losing count of all the Fast and Furious movies? You’re not alone. We’ll have to wait almost a whole year for Fast and Furious 9 – its May release date has now been pushed back to April 2021.

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway

Another let-down for the kids: as one of the first Sony movies to be rescheduled, the Peter Rabbit sequel had been pushed to 7th August. However, as things worsened, it was moved again – to January 2021.

Which movies are going online instead?

All is not lost for those kids at home. Some creators are turning their cinema releases into streaming releases instead, with Trolls: World Tour setting the trend by moving over to Netflix. 


Robert Downey Junior’s Dr Dolittle performance was not as loved by critics as his Iron Man role, but here’s hoping it’s a hit with the kids. Rather than being released in the cinema, it will now feature on Amazon Prime, Apple, Google Play, Vudu and Microsoft.

The Assistant

Based on the harrowing story of the #MeToo movement, The Assistant looks at the life of a young woman who works for a corrupt film magnate. It was scheduled for 31st January in cinemas, but is now available to rent from Amazon and Apple, or to buy from Google, Vudu and Microsoft.

Birds of Prey

The long-awaited sequel to Suicide Squad was set for release on 7th February. It’s already available to view on Amazon, Apple, Google, Vudu and Microsoft, taking a new perspective of Harley Quinn without The Joker.

What’s not changed?

While we’ve got upcoming hits like Emma, Sonic the Hedgehog and Bad Boys for Life to look forward to, other releases are sticking to their guns. For example, author Stephen King decided to go ahead with his 2020 book release, If It Bleeds – despite the assumed lack of crowds for book signings. No doubt there will be a cinema release in the near future.

Likewise, director Christopher Nolan is still keen to push the July release of his upcoming time travel action flick, Tenet. It’s set for cinemas on 17th July – but only time will tell.

See the best from the comfort of your home

With a whole summer of action blockbusters to look forward to, there’s no better hotseat than your own home cinema. Talk to the team at SONA if you’d like to convert your living space into an entertainment zone.