Adding to the growing list of major Hollywood movies delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, Warner Bros. announced Tuesday it is postponing the release of “Wonder Woman 1984” from June 5 to Aug. 14. The studio is also delaying “In the Heights” until further notice. Directed by “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu, the adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s debut Broadway musical was supposed to open in theaters on June 26.
These latest postponements are the first signs that many industries and cultural events could remain halted until at least early summer in response to the spread of COVID-19. Up until now, most of the movies that had theatrical release dates pushed back had been slated for this spring, like Marvel’s “Black Widow,” originally set for May 1, and the ninth “Fast and Furious” movie, which was supposed to open on May 22.
But with the pandemic continuing to worsen across much of the world, it leaves industries like Hollywood in a state of uncertainty. Public health and government officials have warned that the lockdowns and closures of nonessential businesses currently in place could remain for many weeks or even months.
In the U.S. and Canada, most movie theaters have been closed since last week. The two biggest chains, AMC and Regal, shuttered their more than 1,100 locations, with AMC closing for at least six to 12 weeks, and Regal closing until further notice.
Some studios and distributors have made their theatrical movies available to audiences in their homes, such as putting them on on-demand and rental services or streaming platforms.
But moviegoers will still get to see “Wonder Woman 1984” and “In the Heights” on the big screen and in a wide audience, which is particularly vital for both movies because they are both important landmarks for diversity and representation in Hollywood.
“Wonder Woman 1984” is the sequel to 2017’s “Wonder Woman,” the first major superhero franchise led by a female director, and only one of a handful to star a solo female lead. And “In the Heights” marks a major step for Latinx representation, long overlooked in major Hollywood films.
“We made Wonder Woman 1984 for the big screen and I believe in the power of cinema,” the film’s director, Patty Jenkins, tweeted in response to the postponement. “In these terrible times, when theater owners are struggling as so many are, we are excited to re-date our film to August 14th 2020 in a theater near you, and pray for better times for all by then.”
In a tweet, Chu promised “a big friggin’ party when we get to see it on the big screen! And we will all be together again dancing in the aisles!”
Miranda, who based “In the Heights” on his upbringing in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood, said that the delay means that audiences can “safely gather” and celebrate “the best summer of our lives, together.”
“We gathered in Washington Heights and told this story, on location in this neighborhood, with our neighbors in this community. We couldn’t wait to share it with you. But we’re going to have to wait a little longer,” he wrote in a statement. “When we can safely gather again, flags in hand, we will be there, enjoying this movie in theaters. We’ll have the premiere uptown. The best summer of our lives, together.”
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