Deja Vu All Over Again – Another Wave of Theatrical Release Delays Could Be Coming Soon

Comedic catcher Yogi Berra was famous for Yogi-isms like, “It’s deja vu all over again” — totally fits the situation with theatrical release dates since March 2020.

To be fair, there have always been film postponements and release dates moving around, but it’s been a month by month, at times week by week changefest. Studios are frantically trying to figure out just when to screen their movies in reopened theaters with receptive audiences.

We’re no help in Washington State, with all our theaters closed as of this writing and not reopening for at least another week, but probably longer. Over 65% of domestic theaters are closed as of this writing.

With that said, we could be approaching another batch of delays, including some high profile movies like Bond #25, No Time To Die, which with so many delays already might as well be retitled, No Time To Screen.

Even in traditional times, the stretch between January and March is kind of a cinematic dumping ground. So it’s not entirely unexpected that the current release calendar doesn’t pick up in a meaningful way until May, with the debuts of Disney and Marvel’s “Black Widow” (May 7), Warner Bros. and Legendary’s “Godzilla vs Kong” (May 21), Ryan Reynolds’ “Free Guy” from 20th Century Studios (May 21), Paramount’s “Infinite” starring Mark Wahlberg (May 28), Disney’s “Cruella” with Emma Stone (May 28) and Universal’s “F9” (May 28). But many of these titles are expected to shift as well if conditions don’t drastically improve in the next month or so.

Hollywood Prepares to Delay Another Slew of Blockbusters – Variety

Looking into the first quarter crystal ball, six movies were supposed to be released in January, with 19 more over the next two months (9 in February and 10 in March 2021). Just a guess, but we’ll be lucky to see half of these movies released as currently scheduled. Maybe only a quarter of them stay the course.

The silver lining, if there is any, would be that streaming is alive and kicking more than ever before offering plenty of new movies to view across the various streaming channels. When we do come out of this pandemic, hopefully with everybody reading right now safe and secure, we’ll be ready to see new movies in theaters again. Will be somewhat like we’ve missed a long lost friend.

Back to what we started with: Yogi-isms. Here’s a few more just … because:

It ain’t over ’til it’s over.
You can observe a lot by watching.
Nobody goes there any more. It’s too crowded.
Never answer an anonymous letter.
It gets late early out here.
When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
I never said most of the things I said.

‘It’s deja vu all over again’: 27 of Yogi Berra’s most memorable ‘Yogi-isms’

Which is your favorite?

Wonder Woman 1984 Delayed Again Until Christmas Day 2020, Dune still December 18

There have been rumblings about this all week long, primarily due to Tenet not doing as well as hoped in the few theaters that reopened (see: Wait, Tenet did $10 million, not $20 million, now Wonder Woman 1984 could be delayed again?), but Warner Bros. has made another WW1984 delay official.

’Wonder Woman 1984 is vacating its October 2 release date, with the Patty Jenkins-directed movie heading to Christmas. Warners is keeping the Legendary sci-fi movie Dune on the calendar for a December 18 release, and believes the holiday marketplace is big enough for two mega-tentpoles.

‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Flying To Christmas Release, One Week After ‘Dune’ – Deadline

Hopefully this doesn’t start a deluge of articles about how the movie theater industry is doomed. We wore that tape out months ago. The theaters are not en masse going out of business because Wonder Woman 1984 — or any single movie title — is delayed.

Tenet in part hasn’t done well because there just aren’t enough theaters open in areas for people to see it. Overseas it’s doing decent numbers. If there were more theaters open in the states, it would have more sales. I’m not apologizing for Tenet, am not that big a fan of Nolan’s newest film, but it’s the best new movie to see in theaters available right now.

Panic after one or two weeks box office performance is the new norm. This was happening before the pandemic. Any movie with a decent sized budget seems to be subject to unrealistic opening week box office sales scrutiny. The “it’s underperforming, it’s a bomb!” stuff seem to make some movies circle the drain even faster. Moviegoers don’t want to go see a movie that others aren’t paying to see.

Tenet is no Joker, not a billion dollar movie with massive legs, even without the ugly spectre of COVID-19. Probably was a $300-500 million level movie, which on a budget of $200+ million means it might have come close to breaking even or just losing a little money (crazy, isn’t it?). If it has enough time in theaters unchallenged, it could make a little more.

At least that is what Warner Bros. seems to think will happen. Hence delaying Wonder Woman to give Tenet more time. It just needs more time.

Give Tenet more time out there without competing against another blockbuster from the same studio for the scant few United States moviegoers that exist. We saw Tenet in IMAX already and, while we recommended others see it (when and if it’s safe to do so), we’re not planning on seeing it a second time. How many don’t feel safe, are waiting for the 90 day theatrical window to work its way to HBO Max? Maybe more than we think.

We all know the pandemic is the real culprit here. Pass the blame hat around, but it belongs on that one big head.

It shut down businesses and without enough theaters reopened, studios will keep delaying titles and/or trickling out the lower budget, lower risk new movies. Our one lone Regal Cinema theater 30 miles south is now only showing one classic movie, Black Panther, a response to the death of Chawick Boseman (see: Most Liked Tweet Ever – 7.1+ million likes – is Chadwick Boseman Death Announcement).

All other movie releases are the half dozen or so new movies we’ve already seen (except for the newest one this week, which we’re watching tonight). See the image to the right. It’s a case of: seen it, seen it, seen it, etc. None of those movies to us are worth seeing a second time. Some aren’t even worth seeing the first time in theaters.

Solutions in the meantime?

Regal needs to get with the program and bring back more $5 classics. It’s like they were there and then a week later gone. Keep them going. Rotate out more and more classics. Do we need 15+ screenings of Tenet every day, seriously? Maybe that’s the only movie making any money for them, hence why they have so many screenings. They might also be trying desperately to ring the cash register for the studio, so they won’t do what they just did (delay another big movie). Theaters need a variety of movies to get butts in the seats. I’ve said this before: would rather have 15 movies showing a couple screenings a day each than a half dozen movies showing with a bunch of screenings.

Back to Wonder Woman 1984. Bummed out on this news, yes I am. This was my most anticipated movie to see this year and now have to wait another three plus months? I understand why the move was made, but don’t have to like it.

They left Dune in place in December, but they will probably delay that somewhere into 2021 like studios have delayed so many other movies.

What will Disney do next? Delay Black Widow or run with it in November?

Assuming the major market theaters reopen within the next 30-45 days — and that is by no means a guarantee — Black Widow will keep its current release date of November 6. October has a decent number of movies being released, but the Wonder Woman move could cause a shift of other titles moving around in the next week or two, including Black Widow.

These are very tough times for the movie theater business, no doubt, and they’ll likely get worse, but let’s not make any funeral plans.

Warner Bros. pulls plug on Tenet August 12 release, no 2020 release date announced

Variety, CNBC and others are reporting that Warner Bros. has decided to delay Tenet for the third time.

Warner Bros. has removed “Tenet” from its release calendar, delivering a big blow on the exhibition industry at a time when movie theaters had hoped to peg their re-opening to the late summer debut of Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller.

Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ Delayed for Third Time – Variety

The next dominoes dropping will likely be the big theater chains delaying their scheduled reopening July 30 (AMC) and July 31 (Regal) and/or Disney pushing back the release date of Mulan, which is currently set for August 21.

We’ve been holding off on the Coming Soon to theaters in August 2020 awaiting this news that wasn’t completely unexpected. We’ll continue to wait longer as more movies planned in August will likely follow suit.

Warner Bros. no doubt was looking at the movie theater landscape in America. California, which has the most movie theater screens of any state in America (400+) was likely to be prevented from reopening. Without that potential box office revenue, the studio having a $200+ million budget and China balking at the run time and requiring an edit (see: China requires all movies in theaters to limit movie run time to max 2 hours – Tenet needs to cut 30+ minutes) — all added up to a logical business decision to delay further.

No revised release date has been announced for Tenet as of this writing.

February 2020 – 9 Movies Ranked MOST to LEAST Entertaining

Am a little tardy getting this posted due to being on vacation, but February 2020 for movies in theaters was an improvement over January with one movie really standing out.

An unexpected bright sign, in fact, for our movie of the month: The Invisible Man and that speedy blue hedgehog Sonic was both fast and fun.

February 2020 – movies in theater ranked MOST to LEAST Entertaining
Click title to read a no-spoilers review.
VR = Video Review

  1. The Invisible Man (2020) ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ [VR] – FIRST LOOK
  2. Sonic The Hedgehog ⭐️⭐️⭐️ [VR] – FIRST LOOK
  3. Impractical Jokers: The Movie ⭐️⭐️⭐️ [VR] – FIRST LOOK
  4. The Call of the Wild ⭐️⭐️⭐️ [VR] – FIRST LOOK
  5. Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey ⭐️⭐️½ [VR] – FIRST LOOK
  6. The Photograph ⭐️⭐️½ [VR] – FIRST LOOK
  7. Fantasy Island ⭐️⭐️ [VR] – FIRST LOOK
  8. Brahms: The Boy II ⭐️⭐️ [VR] – FIRST LOOK
  9. Downhill ⭐️½ [VR] – FIRST LOOK

February 2020 – Movie Theater Expenses
$90 – for movie theater snacks & food ($15 x 6, we received 3 movie popcorn and sodas using our Regal Crown Club points)
$44 for movie tickets (unlimited price for both wife & I)
$45 – 9 movies x $5 average gas/travel expense
= $179 / 12 movies = $14.92 for both of us movie theater entertainment expense per visit, even with the “free” unlimited movies.

= $403 for 2020 Total YTD Expenses (Jan: $224)

Pleasant Surprise

As mentioned, The Invisible Man so far is the highlight of 2020, especially for horror movies. It wasn’t without issues, but it was far better than any of the other horror offerings so far this year. Sonic The Hedgehog wasn’t amazing, but for a videogame movie it ranks up there with the best we’ve ever seen (keep in mind, most videogame movies are terrible).

Met Expectations

From the trailer and the clips seen of Impractical Jokers: The Movie, it delivered. A bit cheesy and not all of the pranks landed, but enough laughs to justify a good time.

The Call of The Wild CGI Buck wasn’t as bad as some were saying. The movie was OK, albeit very sanitized over the 1972 version (expected for Disney). Not sure I’m ready for Harrison Ford in another Indiana Jones, especially with news that Steven Spielberg isn’t directing.

The Photograph was a little underwhelming, but pretty much met expectations for a Valentine’s Day romance.


Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey wasn’t as good as expected. The animated series, meanwhile, remains one of the best adult animated series I’ve ever seen. Maybe after Suicide Squad 2, we’ll get another Harley movie that is just Harley and not her with the Birds of Prey. It’s not a bad movie, it was just upstaged by the animated TV show. I liked Margot Robbie as Harley, and if you do too maybe that is enough to check this one out.

Brahms: The Boy II and Downhill were both lousy movies. With Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the latter should have been at least a little funny (it wasn’t). The doll in Brahms is all that it had going for it. Wouldn’t waste your time streaming either of these.

Fantasy Island was the biggest disappointment of the month. Could have been so much more and yet was less. A convoluted story that if you took away the opening scene and the fact that it was on an island where fantasies come true is about the only thing that lives up to the title. Luckily, for Blumhouse they rebounded in a big way at the end of the month with The Invisible Man.

What did you think of February 2020 movies? Any favorites or standouts? It’s OK if we disagree on movies. Let’s discuss how the month went in the comments.

December 2019 – 12 Movies Ranked MOST to LEAST Entertaining

December 2019 wide theater releases pictured above (except for Midway, which was a Nov. release)

In December 2019, there were 12 wide theater releases, the smallest number seen since starting tracking in August 2019.

Our watched in the theater reviews are shared each month ranked by most to least entertaining, for details see our review criteria. Here is how month #5 since we started this blog, December 2019 went …

December 2019 – Movie Theater Expenses
$145 – for movie theater snacks & food ($15 x 9, we got 3 movie popcorn and sodas using points, so only $10 for the upcharge for large)
$44 for movie tickets (unlimited price for both wife & I for August 2019)
$7 for 3D movie surcharge seeing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 3D
$60 – $5 average gas expense x 12 movies
= $256 / 12 movies = $21.33 for both of us movie theater entertainment expense per visit, even with the “free” unlimited movies.

= $1,715 for 2019 Total YTD Expenses (Aug: $319, Sep: $324, Oct: $384, Nov: $432, Dec: $256)

As mentioned in our August recap, we do spend real $ and those related expenses are above.

December 2019 – 12 movies in theater ranked MOST to LEAST Entertaining
Click title to read a no spoiler review,

  1. Little Women ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Click to watch Video Review
  2. Marriage Story ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (NETFLIX)
  3. *Uncut Gems ⭐️⭐️⭐️½Click to watch Video Review
  4. *Richard Jewell ⭐️⭐️⭐️½Click to watch Video Review
  5. *Dark Waters ⭐️⭐️⭐️½Click to watch Video Review
  6. The Aeronauts ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ (AMAZON)
  7. *Bombshell ⭐️⭐️⭐️Click to watch Video Review
  8. Hold On ⭐️⭐️⭐️Click to watch Video Review
  9. Black Christmas⭐️⭐️⭐️Click to watch Video Review
  10. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker⭐️⭐️½Click to watch Video Review 3D
  11. *Spies in Disguise ⭐️⭐️Click to watch Video Review
  12. *Jumanji: The Next Level⭐️½Click to watch Video Review ScreenX
  13. *Playmobil: The Movie ½Click to watch Video Review
  14. Cats ½Click to watch Video Review

Little Women edges out the frenetic Uncut Gems for the top spot this month, due to creative narration, strong acting and a warm story. The bottom is anchored by a terrible animated film and a play that never should have been adapted to film.

Met Expectations (based on hype, trailer, promotion)
Dark Waters – the trailer had me thinking it would be sort of an Erin Brokovich type tale, but this focused more on the lead attorney played by Mark Ruffalo. There wasn’t enough courtroom drama or tension.
Richard Jewell – Clint Eastwood directs this tale about the disgraced hero of the Centenniel bombing.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – low expectations going into this one after seeing The Last Jedi. It ties up many loose ends for the Disney Star Wars trilogy, but it doesn’t have much soul. It will still make $1 billion+ at the box office, so no tears for big D.

Cats – almost non-existent story, suspect CGI, awful costumes, except for a song or two, the music is lackluster, this might be the worst movie of the last few years, not just 2019.
Playmobil: The Movie – feels more like an advertisement than a movie

Pleasant Surprises
Little Women – as someone who hadn’t read the 1800s novel or seen any of the seven other movie adaptations, I didn’t expect to enjoy this movie. The non-linear narration put me off at times, but won me over as a creative way to tell the story of four sisters by the ending.

Not Reviewed
6 Underground – the $150+ million new Netflix movie directed by Michael Bay was released in December, but tried and failed to watch through enough to review. Others have given mixed reviews.

Overall the theaters were light on outstanding movies in December. November was the strongest month since tracking began in August.

Netflix released another great movie in Marriage Story, which ranks up right up there with Little Women and Amazon had The Aeronauts which was shown in a scattered few theaters, hence why both are included.

Why Aren’t More Coming Soon Movies Available To Watch in Theaters?

3 of these movies available to watch as of 9/13

Keith & the Movies blog way back in March 2019 asked an interesting question that led me to ponder another question I don’t understand. Maybe somebody reading can explain the following:

None of these available to watch as of 9/13

There are over 20 new movies “coming soon” on the Rotten Tomatoes page for this coming week. And yet of these 20 movies, the same 3-5 movies will be showing at Regal theaters in our area (I’m about 45 minutes from Seattle, so not exactly in the middle of nowhere with one theater that gets almost no new movies).

That’s a very small percentage of the overall movies that are supposed to be opening. Do individual chains get exclusive movies? For example, I see that <i>Freaks</i> is playing tomorrow at the AMC movie theater (only one AMC theater in the area).

8 movies and zero available to watch

To repeat the caption for emphasis: none of the eight movies above are showing in any of the dozen Regal Cinemas near me on their release dates. Not one. Why is this?

None of these eight movies are available anywhere (nearby) either. Sigh. Why not?