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Disney-Marvel pushes 'Black Widow' from its May 1 release date

Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson, stars in

Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson, stars in Marvel Studios' "Black Widow." Credit: Disney / Marvel Studios

Disney-Marvel’s “Black Widow” has been pulled from its May 1 release, becoming the latest Hollywood blockbuster to bow to the coronavirus.

Starring Scarlett Johansson as an Avenger with a checkered past, “Black Widow” is directed by Cate Shortland and features Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz and William Hurt. The 24th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Black Widow” was intended to launch an early start to this summer’s movie season on the first weekend in May. No new date has been set.

The move by Disney is another sign of Hollywood’s struggle to react to fast-moving events spurred by the pandemic. The release of such potential blockbusters as “No Time to Die,” “F9” and Disney’s own live-action “Mulan” have all been pushed into the future. Two of the nation’s largest chains, Regal and AMC, temporarily closed their doors following White House guidelines for Americans to avoid congregating in groups of more than 10 people. Disney’s “The Personal History of David Copperfield” and “The Woman in the Window” have also been postponed without new release dates.

Meanwhile, film studios are strategically releasing some of their product to the home market. The latest example is “Birds of Prey,” the DC Comics film starring Margot Robbie, which Warner Bros. will make available on video-on-demand March 24, many weeks earlier than usual. (The film is currently still in theaters.) That move follows Universal’s announcement that it would make three of its current releases — “The Hunt,” “The Invisible Man” and “Emma” — available for rent on demand. Universal also said it would do the same with the animated film “Trolls World Tour,” which will now arrive in theaters and on VOD April 10.

The coronavirus has also halted production on numerous films, notably James Cameron’s three “Avatar” sequels, which were in progress in New Zealand, according to Variety. “Mission: Impossible 7” paused production last month. Also on hiatus are Rob Marshall’s “Little Mermaid,” Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley,” the Robert Pattison-led superhero film “The Batman,” “Jurassic World: Dominion” and Keanu Reeves in director Lana Wachowski's “The Matrix 4.”

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