It really was all good a week ago.
While the coronavirus was still a major issue at the beginning of March, it hadn’t progressed anywhere near the level of its now pandemic status. As the dangerous disease continues to rage around the world, it’s causing all kinds of chaos to all kinds of industries—including Hollywood.
As we continue through this turmoil-ridden time, it’s important to take stock of just how much this disease has shaped the future movie and television industry since the start of the month. While it’s staggering to look at each of these announcements individually, putting them all together lays out can only be described as a seismic shift in how pop culture is being made and distributed during this time. Safe to say, there’s more to come than what we’ve highlighted here.
March 4, 2020: No Time To Die makes first major Coronavirus-related adjustment
In what proved to be the canary in the coal mine for all ::gestures around:: this, MGM, EON, and Universal decided to delay the 25th installment of the James Bond franchise from April until November. The Bond series is inherently global and the studios involved were counting on the movie to be a cash cow—both domestically and internationally. Add in the fact No Time To Die is actor Daniel Craig’s final outing as Bond, there was an immense amount of money riding on the line here. Given Fast 9’s dramatic shift (more on this later), we won’t be surprised if Universal and crew decide to push No Time To Die’s release again. Keep in mind, the movie was supposed to be originally released in November of 2019.
March 6, 2020: South by Southwest officially gets canned
After a series of high-profile exhibitors—including Netflix, Apple, and Amazon Studios—pulled out from the event, the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) was canceled by the city of Austin. This marked the first time in 34 years that the tech, music, and entertainment conference and festival would not take place.
In 2019, the event drew over 400,000 people to the city of Austin and provided a local economic impact of roughly $356 million. As per their official policy, refunds for the event have not and will not be issued.
March 10, 2020: Survivor, Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and Riverdale productions delayed
Here’s where news starts to pick up a bit. After the World Health Organization officially declared the coronavirus a global pandemic, CBS made the choice to delay the scheduled production of Survivor’s 41st season. Set to take place in Fiji, the production is currently set to resume in mid-May.
A few hours later, Disney stopped the production of Falcon and The Winter Soldier. The first of Marvel's foray into Disney+ streaming shows was on location in Prague, where crews were set to do a brief shoot. Star Sebastian Stan confirmed the news via an Instagram post. Crews have returned to their normal production location in Atlanta, where the show was previously already well underway.
But the most serious production suspension of the day came on the Vancouver-based Riverdale shoot. Deep into Season 4 (which you should be watching!), The CW show immediately halted filming, citing concerns that “a person working on the show was recently in contact” with another individual who tested positive for the disease according to Deadline. At this point, there’s been no publicly announced resume date.
March 10, 2020: Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway runs away to August
I imagine this will be its first and last mention on this site, Sony’s Peter Rabbit sequel moved from its domestic April 3 date to August 7. The film stars Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, David Oyelowo, Elizabeth Debicki, Margot Robbie and James Corden as the voice of the titular Peter Rabbit. Speaking of Corden...
March 11, 2020: Talk shows including Fallon, Corden, Ellen, Colbert, and Myers all move to audience-less shows; game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune follow suit
In what Deadline called a “decision made jointly among the late-night shows,” every major show will tape without an audience. The list includes The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Myers, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, Watch What Happens Live, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and The Late Late Show with James Corden. Ellen DeGeneres took to Twitter for her (typically wry) announcement:
Additionally, game show stalwarts Wheel of Fortune and (more importantly) Jeopardy! put out statements saying they’d continue on without live audiences. This is especially important for the latter, as host Alex Trebek is still in the middle of a battle with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer—and must be protected at all costs.
March 11, 2020: CinemaCon canceled
The National Association of Theatre Owners’ annual gathering, otherwise known as CinemaCon, was set to take place in Las Vegas from March 30 until April 2—until it wasn’t. While not the most high-profile of events, CinemaCon draws coverage specifically for its splashy rollout of exclusive footage from upcoming movies and (perhaps more importantly) visits from top stars. NATO decided it was best to shield everyone from potential infection, including those major stars, but the damage was already done as we soon learned...
March 11, 2020: Global treasures Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson announce they’re infected with coronavirus
When writing the story of this pandemic, I have a feeling this specific moment will be frequently referenced. In a statement released exclusively to Deadline and later to his personal Twitter account, actor and literal global treasure Tom Hanks announced he and his wife Rita Wilson had both tested positive for coronavirus. Hanks and Wilson were on location in Australia as part of pre-production for director Baz Luhrman’s upcoming Elvis Presley movie.
Later that night, the one and only Chet Haze took to Instagram to thank everyone for their well-wishes and to reassure the public his parents aren’t “trippin’.” It was only a matter of time before someone significant was diagnosed, but the fact it was Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson of all people seemingly brought home the reality of this issue in a way that’s a little more than horrifying.
March 12, 2020: A Quiet Place Part II stays quiet indefinitely, Fast 9 shuts off its engine until 2021, The Lovebirds fly the coop, and The Prom shuts down
Hanks’ diagnosis seemed to be the burst of the dam for many in Hollywood. On Thursday, all within the span of about an hour, three high-profile movie releases were rescheduled while another stopped production before it even began.
The first was the anticipated A Quiet Place sequel. In a statement posted to Instagram, multi-hyphenate John Krasinski stated: “After much consideration, and in light of the ongoing and developing situation concerning coronavirus and restrictions on global travel and public gatherings, Paramount Pictures will be moving the worldwide release of A Quiet Place Part II.” At this point, the delay is seemingly indefinite with no confirmed, updated release date.
Paramount also made the decision to delay the Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani vehicle, The Lovebirds. The comedy looks to capture the same spirit of movies like Game Night and Date Night, focusing on a couple who gets way in over their head after witnessing a crime. As with A Quiet Place Part II, a new release date has not been slated.
Perhaps the most dramatic shift, Fast 9 has been delayed an entire year from May 22 to April 2, 2021. In a manner not dissimilar to Bond movies, the Fast and Furious franchise has amassed a global fanbase, so it’s safe to assume Universal was counting on returns from a global box office to bolster its bottom line for the year.
Finally, Netflix and Ryan Murphy’s The Prom has completely shut down production. The Tony-nominated musical was being adapted for the streaming platform and featured Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Ariana Grande, Kerry Washington, Awkwafina, and more its heavy-hitting cast. It’s worth mentioning the film was set to film on the Paramount lot, perhaps leading into its cancelation. And, as with much of this news, there is no update on when the movie will continue.
March 12, 2020: Universal stops production on three series including Apple’s Little America and Netflix’s Russian Doll
Reported exclusively by Deadline, three Universal series—Russian Doll (Netflix), Little America (Apple TV+), and Rutherford Falls (NBC’s upcoming Peacock) — will not continue into filming. All three shows were still early in pre-production, with writing and casting still underway and had no firm ‘delivery dates’ to their respective platforms. Russian Doll stars Natasha Lyonne, Little America is an anthology series headed by Kumail Nanjiani (who is having a tough day) and his partner (both professionally and in life) Emily V. Gordon, and Rutherford Falls stars Ed Helms.
March 12, 2020: ViacomCBS shows including One Day At A Time and Tosh.0 to film without live audiences
Real talk: Is anyone still watching Tosh.0? Nevertheless, it’s one of a handful of shows produced by ViacomCBS that will tape without a studio audience. Other shows include Lights Out With David Spade, Ridiculousness and One Day At A Time—the latter of which becomes the first multi-cam sitcom to go without in-studio attendance. Anticipate other sitcoms to move to a similar policy sooner rather than later.
March 12, 2020: WonderCon and Tribeca Film Festival get pushed
Comic-Con International has shut down this year’s WonderCon. While the event is not on the same massive scale as San Diego Comic-Con, WonderCon has started to see more of a dedicated entertainment presence in recent years (Fear the Walking Dead dropped their trailer there last year for example). Comic-Con International has yet to make a decision regarding the status of July’s San Diego Comic-Con, nor have they set a new date for WonderCon.
Additionally, Deadline learned about the postponement of the annual Tribeca Film Festival. The announcement seemingly came in the wake of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s statewide gathering ban. Set to originally take place from April 15 - 26, the festival slate will include 115 films across 33 different countries. And, as you can expect, there is no new date.
March 12, 2020: Disney pushes releases of Mulan, Antlers, and The New Mutants (Again)
After Disney (finally) moved to close their theme parks, rescheduling their primary March and April releases seemed imminent. The live-action Mulan (March 27) and Searchlight horror flick Antlers (April 17) were officially pulled from release late on Thursday afternoon.
Same goes for Fox’s The New Mutants. In case you don’t know the full story here, the movie—deep breath—has been: pushed back, undergone reshoots, delayed again, acquired by Disney in the Fox deal, rumored to be released on Hulu or Disney+, and then finally scheduled for April 3 of this year...only to get moved again.
While there’s currently no update on Black Widow’s May 1 release, don't be surprised if that changes in the near future. In the meantime, no new release dates have been announced for the three films.
March 12, 2020: NBS completely shuts down The Tonight Show, Late Night, and Wendy Williams
NBC officially made the call to fully halt tapings of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Myers, and The Wendy Williams Show. The news flies in the face of the previous news that NBC’s late-night shows would continue on without audiences, as the full state of emergency in New York grows. Fallon ended up taping a final show — sans audience, as expected. Meanwhile, Myers just released a new edition of his beloved “Closer Look” segment as a digital exclusive.
March 12, 2020: Grey’s Anatomy, Grace and Frankie stop the tapes
Now in its 16th(!) season, ABC’s hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy has paused filming for at least two weeks. The decision was most likely made in the wake of Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti’s declaration to limit gatherings that spanned 50 people or more.
This also extends to Netflix’s Grace and Frankie. The show was in the middle of filming its seventh and final season for the streaming platform. Sadly, there needs to be a bit of caution here, as the show’s stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, and Sam Waterston all fall within one of the high-risk demographics for the virus.
March 12, 2020: Marvel’s Shang-Chi pauses filming as director Destin Daniel Cretton self-isolates
Via a Variety report, Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has been put on temporary hold as its director Destin Daniel Cretton self-isolates. Cretton himself wasn’t showing any symptoms of the coronavirus but decided to get tested. Cretton recently had a newborn baby and decided to “exercise additional caution” on behalf of his family. While he waits for the results, he’s followed a doctor’s orders to enter into quarantine.
Shang-Chi has been filming in Australia since February. It’s worth noting, that’s where Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were also on location when they discovered they’d been diagnosed.
March 13, 2020: NBC, CBS, Disney and Warner Bros. TV shut down large groupings of productions
In what is probably the most sweeping set of closures, NBC pulled the plug on a whopping 32 of their shows including Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D, Chicago Med, The Kelly Clarkson Show, and Sam Esmail’s Angelyne. They’re joined by a handful of shows including Russian Doll, Little America, and Rutherford Falls that were paused on Thursday.
CBS has also followed suit, shutting down all three NCIS shows—please reach out to your Dad right now—Bull, The CW’s Dynasty and CBS All Access’ The Good Fight. Deadline states the shutdown will occur once these shows have finished taping their respective episodes.
Also joining in was Disney Television Studios stopped filming of Genius: Aretha for “at least three weeks,” according to Deadline. Additionally, 16 pilots currently in development will be postponed until further notice.
Finally, Warner Bros. Television Group stopped production on their active shows. The full list of impacted programs includes Young Sheldon, God Friended Me, Batwoman, The Flash, Lucifer and The Bachelorette (which is a co-production with ABC). They all joined Riverdale, which shut down on Thursday.
March 13, 2020: Disney shuts down every active production
Come one, come all. After Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings shuttered its filming late on Thursday night, Disney has taken its ball and gone home in relation to every upcoming production on its slate including Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley, the live-action The Little Mermaid remake, David Lowery’s Peter Pan & Wendy, Disney+’s Home Alone reboot, the Honey I Shrunk the Kids reboot Shrunk, and Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel.
The Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Adam Driver, and Jodie Cromer-lead The Last Duel was currently filming in Ireland, so given the concerns about the virus in Europe, it makes sense for filming to stop. Plus, Affleck will have more time to spend with his new beau, Ana de Armas. Meanwhile, The Little Mermaid was set to roll cameras early next week in London, so flying the cast home also makes sense given its European locale.
Disney said the films would be shut down for “a short time,” but there’s no insight into how long that stoppage will last.
March 13, 2020: AMC and Regal cut screenings by at least 50 percent in accordance with social distancing
While we’ve seen updates around the future of movies, we hadn’t seen many updates about the present of moving going. That changed on Friday, as AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas announced they’re reducing the capacity of their movie auditoriums by as much as 50 percent. AMC is the first major theatre chain to implement such a policy, which begins on March 14 and will last through the end of April 2020.
It should also be noted that AMC is the largest movie theater chain in the United States. Considering the hand-wringing over performance, this move will do little to curb fears around estimated projections for 2020’s performance. Anticipate other chains to follow suit shortly.
March 13, 2020: Netflix shuts down L.A. office, productions
While Netflix productions The Prom and Grace and Frankie had gone dark on Thursday, the studio hadn’t moved to shutter Stranger Things or its other shows. That changed Friday afternoon in the wake of the national emergency; all scripted TV and movies in production by Netflix—in both the US and Canada— will no longer move forward starting Monday, March 16 and will stay this way for two weeks.
Scarier news: The Los Angeles Times broke the news that Netflix has closed its L.A. office after an employee was revealed to have potentially contracted the disease.
March 13, 2020: FX joins in, stopping Atlanta, Fargo, Snowfall and the troubled Y: The Last Man adaptation
We’re never getting Season 3 of Atlanta, are we? After a few tweets from Donald Glover’s brother, FX officially announced they too are shutting down their shows which include the aforementioned Atlanta along with the fourth seasons of both Fargo (starring Chris Rock) and the late John Singleton's L.A. cocaine drama Snowfall.
Worth drawing a specific callout is Y. Based on the Y: The Last Man comic book series written by Brian K. Vaughan and drawn by Pia Guerra, the show—known simply as Y—has had a rocky road to series, including the departure of its original showrunners Aida Mashaka Croal and Michael Green (Blade Runner 2049, Logan, Alien: Covenant). For those unfamiliar with the plot, the series tracks the journey of the only man left in the world (Yorrick Brown) after a global event kills every other male in existence. I couldn’t make this up if I tried.
March 13, 2020: WarnerMedia shuts down HBO, HBO MAX, TBS, TNT, and TruTV shows
The donations tray for Righteous Gemstones has been called back, the train is halted on Snowpiercer, and Euphoria canceled classes as WarnerMedia stopped all of their shows early in the evening on Friday. It’s especially tough for Euphoria considering the cast just gathered for their first table read on March 11.
While Deadline couldn’t officially confirm shows outside of the ones mentioned, it’s safe to assume all currently in production shows across the five networks will be affected. Yes, this sadly might include our number one boy, Succession, which was supposed to start shooting in “April-ish.”
March 13, 2020: Fear The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead stop walking
Looks like you can kill the undead. Both of AMC’s zombie-filled shows—Fear The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead—will scurry back to their graves. Fear was currently shooting in Austin and will hold until April 13, while the Georgia-based The Walking Dead will be pushed for “at least three to four weeks,” while the actual writer’s room for the show will be handled remotely. Writers! They’re just like us!
March 13, 2020: The CW’s Supernatural and The 100 stop short of finishing their final seasons
The only two shows seemingly not mentioned in our earlier coverage of The CW’s postponed shows where the (somewhat) everlasting Supernatural and The 100. That’s not the case now. The former was in the final weeks of its 15th and final season, while the latter was quite literally in final stages of shooting its series finale—with only a few days left to go. There’s going to be a push to wrap shooting before the cast and crew heads home.
March 13, 2020: Full Frontal With Samantha Bee to go dark
Somehow not included in the batch of WarnerMedia’s initial statement was any sort of news related to Full Frontal With Samantha Bee. I bet you can guess what happened next—the show is now on indefinite hiatus.
Bee’s statement, however, is worth sharing: “Despite the efforts being taken, we still have heard from Sean Spicer that tonight’s taping ‘was the largest audience ever to witness [a taping of Full Frontal], period, both in-person and around the globe.’ Wow!”
March 13, 2020: Both HBO late-night shows, Real Time with Bill Maher and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, declare they’re going dark
At the top of Friday night’s edition of Real Time with Bill Maher, host Bill Maher officially declared that following that night’s audience-less show, they’re going dark starting “next week.” The show was already scheduled for a hiatus week in the near future, so it’s just an acceleration of an already established timeline. “Surreal time is what we’re renaming this show,” Maher stated. “This country went from zero to crazy in about three seconds this week.”
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver was already primed to do an audience-less show for his Sunday show. Proceeding that show, Oliver will also go dark for the foreseeable future.
March 14, 2020: Universal Pictures slows down trio of films, including Jurassic World: Dominion
In the busyness of all this news, it seems somehow odd Universal Pictures took this long to shut down their current film projects. Nevertheless, Barry Jenkins-penned sports drama Flint Strong, the Judd Apatow-produced Billy Eichner comedy vehicle, and Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World: Dominion are all paused as of early morning East Coast time.
Dominion is worth a special shoutout, as the dino epic was just a few weeks into its production on location in Hawaii; the third installment of Trevorrow’s reboot series is set to reunite World stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard with original stars Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, and the undisputed GOAT Laura Dern. Now the Oscar-award winning actress can spend some more time kicking it with Baby Yoda—although not at NBA games.
March 14, 2020: Sony yanks three productions including Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson comedy The Man From Toronto
Sony becomes the latest studio to yield to coronavirus, affecting three movies: the Kevin Hart and Woody Harrleson comedy The Man From Toronto, horror flick Shrine, and the World War II epic The Nightingale.
Despite having Toronto in its name, the Hart/Harrleson flick was being staged in Atlanta. Harrelson, hot off of Venom 2, stepped in to replace a departing Jason Statham. Despite the push, the movie remains on track for a late November opening.
The Nightingale is actor Melanie Laruent’s directorial debut and is based off of a bestselling novel from Kristin Hannah. Currently in pre-production, the Elle and Dakota Fanning-starring flick will take two weeks off to suss things out.
Finally, Shrine’s Boston filming will stop for four weeks. The horror movie stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Cary Elwes.
March 14, 2020: The show won’t go on—Razzie Awards mulls over whether to push or outright cancel
Despite the fact that the Academy Awards already held its show, the same couldn’t be said for the annual Razzie Awards. Dedicated entirely to honoring the worst of the worst in cinema, the awards show was scheduled to be held on Saturday night. In accordance with the Los Angeles Mayor’s decree to shut down gatherings over 50 people, the show will now no longer occur.
In the interim, co-founder John Wilson is said to be mulling over a decision with his fellow producers as to either postpone or fully cancel the event. Cats, A Madea Family Funeral, and Rambo: Last Blood were the leading nominees.
March 14, 2020: The Batman returns to its cave
This is a big one. Currently filming in London, the Matt Reeves directed and written production of The Batman will be delayed by at least “two weeks” according to Deadline. No one among the cast or crew is currently showing symptoms of the coronavirus, rather, the move is purely precautionary.
The cast features Robert Pattinson as the titular caped crusader, Colin Farrell as the Penguin, Paul Dano as the Riddler, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone, Andy Serkis as Alfred, Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, and Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman.
Speaking of Kravitz, now is a great time to get caught up on her superlative High Fidelity adaptation for Hulu.
March 14, 2020: All MCU Disney+ shows shut down
After the March 10 closure of Falcon and The Winter Soldier’s Prague location shoot, Variety broke the news that all of the MCU Disney+ shows—including Loki and WandaVision—are on hiatus. Remote work will continue for currently in-production shows like She-Hulk, Moon Knight, and Ms. Marvel.
Taking place after the God of Mischief’s escape during Avengers: Endgame, the series is set to follow Loki as he jumps around various time periods throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A snippet of footage was released in Disney+’s Super Bowl spot, having been seemingly imprisoned by the Time Variance Authority (TVA)—aka Marvel’s version of time police—and promising to “burn this place to the ground.” Actors Owen Wilson and Gugu Mbatha-Raw also star.
Meanwhile, WanadaVision is a Marvel-ized spin on classic domestic sitcoms. The show is rumored to take place in an alternate reality created by Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch as she works through the trauma of losing her lover, Paul Bettany’s Vision. Loosely inspired by writer Tom King and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s Vision comic book, the show also features Randall Park, Kat Dennings, and Kathryn Hahn.
March 14, 2020: Starz pulls the plug on Power spinoffs
Forgive my electricity-related puns, but they’re just oh-so fitting. Starz has stopped production on both Power Book II: Ghost and Power Book III: Raising Kanan. The New York-based shows star Mary J Blige (Ghost) and Omar Epps (Kanan) actually yielded March 13 but weren’t announced until today. Writers rooms for the respective shows will continue.
March 15, 2020: More Disney Televisions Studios shows including Empire and Pose suspend filming
Overnight it was announced that another set of Disney Television Studios shows have suspended filming including The Resident, Pose, Queen of the South, American Housewife and the final season of Empire. The shows ceased yesterday evening and join fellow Disney TV shows Grey’s Anatomy and Genius: Aretha in having stopped production.
March 15, 2020: Weekend box office set to hit 22-year-low, specialty box office also affected
As previously reported, the coronavirus has significantly impacted this weekend’s box office gross. The projected total gross for this weekend is currently estimated at $58.8 million settling in for what’s anticipated to be a 22-year-low. The last time the box office came anywhere close to this amount was the weekend of September 11 - 13, 1998.
This, of course, extends to the speciality box office as well were movies like Eliza Hittman’s Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Emma, The Roads Not Taken, and A24’s First Cow are all being hit. For example, The Roads Not Taken—starring Javier Bardem and Elle Fanning—raked in a dismal $3,853 from three locations according to Deadline. Perhaps there will be a move to release some of these indie films on streaming services, but as of this writing, nothing has been announced.
While this news is clearly detrimental to the industry, perhaps it is a sign that social-distancing is working after all?
March 15, 2020: Sylvester Stallone thriller Samaritan’s Atlanta film pauses
MGM’s production of Sly Stallone’s Samaritan is now the latest Atlanta-based production to pause filming. Based on an original script idea from Escape Room writer Bragi F. Schut, the film follows a young boy (Euphoria’s Javon Walton) who heads out on a journey to discover what happened to a superhero who has been missing for the better part of two decades.
As of this writing, Georgia has the 7th highest number of coronavirus cases, so if there’s a production in the state that, somehow hasn’t stopped, anticipate this to change shortly.
March 15, 2020: New York, Los Angeles movie theaters ordered to close by respective mayoral orders
Well, that box office gross isn’t going to get any better any time soon. Early on Sunday evening, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued Mayoral orders that a number of social gathering spots—including movie theaters—be closed. The NYC order begins on March 17 and lasts through April 20, while the LA order extends through the end of March.
It will be interesting to see how distributors adjust to this sweeping change and if, at all, we’ll see some of these movies start to hit video-on-demand services. It seems like a no-brainer for a movie like A24’s delightful First Cow to drop on VOD, but, we’ll see how it all shakes out over the coming days.
March 16, 2020: Toss a coin to your postponed The Witcher production
The London-based production of Netflix’s The Witcher has officially stopped filming for two weeks, according to an exclusive report from Deadline. The Henry Cavill-starring drama is shot a little west of London and therefore not in the heart of the London cases. Additionally, Netflix will continue to pay the crew during the stoppage while the company “[takes] the time to make informed decisions about how to move it forward.”
The Witcher marks the first Uk-made drama to stop its production due to the coronavirus.
March 16, 2020: BBC series Peaky Blinders and Line of Duty also stop
BBC dramas Peaky Blinders and Line of Duty are the latest shows affected by the coronavirus according to a new report Monday morning. Both shows are currently in their sixth seasons on the premiere British broadcasting network.
March 16, 2020: Hulu employee tests positive for coronavirus
According to a new report from Variety, a Hulu employee has tested positive for the coronavirus. Said employee immediately started self-isolation after they started experiencing symptoms and is safely recovering at home.
The majority of Hulu staffers have already begun working remotely and the office is currently undergoing a deep clean. Complex sends our well wishes to the person—and the others they came in contact with—a speedy and safe recovery.
March 16, 2020: Matrix 4 pulls the production plug
The Berlin-based production of the fourth Matrix installment has officially had its plug pulled. Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jada Pinkett Smith, Neil Patrick Harris, Yahya Adul-Mateen II, Jonathan Groff, and Priyanka Chopra all topline the highly anticipated movie from Warner Bros.
While details around the story are being kept tightly locked away, Yahya Adul-Mateen briefly spoke about the project on an episode of Complex’s Watch Less podcast back in December.
March 16, 2020: Actors Idris Elba and Olga Kurylenko test positive
Tom Hanks is no longer Hollywood’s patient zero for coronavirus. News broke today that actors Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) and Idris Elba (Luther, Hobbs and Shaw) have tested positive for the disease.
Both actors took to social media to make their announcements, with Kurylenko posting on Instagram and Elba on Twitter.
Despite their diagnosis, both actors seem to be in good spirits. Complex wishes them a healthy and speedy recovery.
March 16, 2020: Universal Pictures is the first studio to push current theatrical release to VOD with The Invisible Man, The Hunt, and Emma. dropping this Friday
We speculated this morning which studios might be the first to put their current theatrical release up on video-on-demand platforms and it turns out Universal is the first to step forward. Starting Friday, March 20, three titles—The Invisible Man, The Hunt, and Emma.—will be available to rent for $19.99 on all VOD platforms.
Furthermore—in a somewhat unprecedented move—Trolls World Tour will be a day-and-date digital and box office release when it debuts on Easter weekend. Safe to say, it won’t be entirely unexpected to see other studios follow suit with this plan, so stay tuned.
March 16, 2020: Saturday Night Live officially put on hiatus
Considering the fact NBC had already stopped tapings of shows like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and The Late Show With Seth Myers, a move to postpone the, well uh, live Saturday Night Live seemed as inevitable as Thanos. Variety confirmed the news with a source close to the show, stating the next three editions of the long-running comedy stalwart will not take place. Later, it was announced that the series had been put on indefinite hiatus while awaiting word on COVID-19, which shouldn't be a surprise considering the show is filmed "live from New York," a city that's trying to figure out how to keep its millions of residents (and tourists) safe.
While hosts and musical guests for the latter two episodes hadn’t yet been announced, this weekend’s upcoming show was set to feature John Krasinski and Dua Lipa. Krasinski, of course, was set to appear to promote A Quiet Place Part II which was delayed last week due to coronavirus.
March 16, 2020: FX’s Fargo’s fourth season premiere delayed indefinitely
Originally set to premiere its much anticipated fourth season in mid-April, FX has now pushed the premiere of their Fargo series indefinitely. Filming on the Chris Rock-starring series paused late last week.
With the show not yet finished—hence the halted production—it sadly makes sense for the premiere to be rescheduled. And, as critic Alan Sepinwall pointed out, it might be a long while before we see the show: The majority of filming takes place during the winter and FX likes to have the show air just in time to hit the Emmy Awards eligibility window. Shame to see it, don’t ya know?
March 16, 2020: Regal Cinemas to close all locations beginning March 17
Reported exclusively by Deadline, theater chain Regal Cinemas will close every single one of their locations beginning on Tuesday, March 17. This news comes in the wake of the U.S. government’s guidance to limit interactions to groups no larger than 10 people.
Regal is the second-largest movie theater chain in the U.S. behind AMC. All locations will stay closed until further notice—anticipate other chains to follow suit shortly.
March 16, 2020: Finally, some good news—Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson leave hospital
It has been a day—but there’s a bright spot amongst it: Absolute treasures Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have officially been released from the hospital in Australia where the two were quarantined.
The duo will return to the house they’ve been renting while Hanks prepped for filming on Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis movie. Deadline anticipates Chet and Colin Hanks to officially confirm the news on their respective social media channels shortly.
March 16, 2020: Third Fantastic Beasts movie and Will Smith’s King Richard postpone shoots
Another high profile Warner Bros project will be postponed due to coronavirus. Following in the wake of The Batman, production on the third Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie will not proceed as planned according to Variety.
Initial filming was supposed to begin in the U.K. today before moving to Brazil for the majority of principal photography. The movie will see the return of cast members Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Paterson, Dan Folger, Jude Law, and Johnny Depp.
The Harry Potter spin-off/prequel is one of the studio’s top-grossing franchises. It’s currently unknown when filming will begin again as well as whether or not this change in scheduling will delay its release date in any capacity.
Also in the Variety report is an update around Will Smith’s King Richard. Set to explore the life of Richard Williams, aka the father of Venus and Serena Williams, the biopic was initially halted due to “bad weather” in the LA area, but was ultimately paused due to the pandemic. And, much like everything else, it is unclear as to whether or not this will affect the movie’s scheduled November release date.
March 16, 2020: Game of Thrones star Kristofer Hivju tests positive for coronavirus
Norweigan actor Kristofer Hivju, better known as Tormund from Game of Thrones, has announced via a post on Instagram that he has tested positive for the disease. He’s currently self-isolating with his family at their home in Norway.
Much like Idris Elba, who went to great lengths today to address the fact he was asymptomatic, Hivju says that he had only “mild symptoms of a cold” and yet was still diagnosed. It’s important to remember that you could be a carrier and/or have the disease — even without showing it.
We wish the legendary Tormund a healthy and speedy recovery.
March 16, 2020: Birds of Prey to hit VOD early, A24’s First Cow to be re-released theatrically later this year
Following Universal’s lead yesterday, Warner Bros. has moved up the VOD release date for DC’s Birds of Prey to March 24, where it will hit digital shops like iTunes and Amazon for a rental fee of $19.99. Director Cathy Yan took to Twitter yesterday, not long after the Universal news broke, to express her interest.
The Margot Robbie-led movie sees the return of Harley Quinn in the wake of her split with the Joker getting tangled up with Black Mask (Ewan McGregor). The movie also stars Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Chris Messina, and Rosie Perez.
Meanwhile, I’ve been personally advocating in this ongoing column for A24 to debut their current release, First Cow, on a VOD service. A24, not unlike Jason Blum and Blumhouse, is one of the most recognizable film brands out there right now, which means there’s a dedicated audience that will watch any and all of their films. Not putting the release up on VOD feels like leaving money on the table. However, the studio announced yesterday that they’re sticking by theatrical and will aim to re-release the movie “once the marketplace has rebounded from the limitations presented by COVID-19.” A respectable choice, but a bummer nonetheless.
TailerTrack’s Anton Volkow had good insight as to why we might be seeing this. A24 doesn’t have global distribution and therefore is being released by a handful of different companies around the globe, so a US-based release could potentially torpedo global releases later. Regardless, it’s definitely a bummer—mostly because the film is so damn charming and wonderful.
March 16, 2020: AMC Theatres to close
As I said at the end of our Regal news, AMC closing their locations seemed inevitable and, well, we’ve now reached that point. The largest US movie theater chain announced yesterday they’re planning on closing all of their locations effective March 17. The closure is set to last “6 to 12 weeks” according to Deadline.
As for members who subscribe to their highly popular A-List service, the chain is automatically halting all memberships for this time: “Members will be notified prior to this pause expiring and will have the option to choose to extend the pause for another month if they so desire,” read a statement provided by the chain.
March 16, 2020: Soap operas The Young And The Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful stop taping
In an exclusive report from Deadline, we’ve learned that soap operas— The Young And The Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful—have respectively suspended production in the wake of the coronavirus.
Beginning Tuesday, March 17, both series will see their productions halt for at least two weeks.
March 17, 2020: Avatar sequels stop production in New Zealand
Remember James Cameron’s Avatar? The visionary director’s 2009 movie was once the highest-grossing film of all time and has a long-gestating trio of films that are currently underway. However, due to concerns around the coronavirus, all work on these movies has stopped for the time being.
Avatar 2 was set to release in 2021, with Avatar 3 to follow in 2023, and Avatar 4 hitting in 2025. Anticipate these dates to shift, which means we’ll have to wait just a bit longer before journeying back to Pandora.
March 17, 2020: Black Widow pulled from schedule
I’m honestly shocked it took this long. After a number of high-profile spring releases including No Time To Die, Fast 9, Mulan, New Mutants and A Quiet Place Part II delayed their theatrical releases, Marvel has finally delayed the release of the standalone Black Widow movie. Originally set to bow on May 1, the release doesn’t currently have a new date. The last MCU movie to be released was the Sony/Marvel joint production Spider-Man: Far From Home last July. This push marks one of the longer periods of time between Marvel movies, matched only by the wait that took place The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2.
Starring Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, William Hurt, Ray Winstone, and Rachel Weisz, the movie was set to follow Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff after the events of Captain America: Civil War. It is directed by Cate Shortland. You can read some of the theorizing we did about the movie’s plot during our Comic-Con coverage last year.
March 17, 2020: Lionsgate removes Antebellum, Spiral, and Run from calendar
Seemingly one of the last major studio holdouts, Lionsgate has removed a trio of films—Antebellum, Spiral, and Run—from their release schedule due to the coronavirus.
Horror flick Antebellum stars Janelle Monáe and was set to release on April 24, the Sarah Paulson-led Run is a thriller originally set for May 8, and the Saw reboot Spiral featured Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson was set for May 15. As of this writing, no new release dates have been established.
March 17, 2020: Netflix’s massive comedy festival tabled for now
Originally set to run from April 27 until May 3, the inaugural Netflix is a Joke Fest has been postponed for now. The stand-up comedy festival was set to feature talents such as David Letterman, Kevin Hart, Martin Lawrence, Sarah Silverman, Chris Rock, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, Ali Wong and Dave Chappelle across a variety of Los Angeles comedy venues.
The new date was not disclosed, but it’s safe to assume the date is significantly later this year.
March 18, 2020: Sony to make the Vin Diesel vehicle Bloodshot available on VOD starting March 24
Following in the wake of other movies like The Invisible Man and Birds of Prey, the recently released Bloodshot will be made available to digitally rent on VOD platforms beginning Tuesday, March 24.
Sony Pictures Chairman Tim Rothman provided the following statement to Deadline saying, “This is a unique and exceedingly rare circumstance where theaters have been required to close nationwide for the greater good and Bloodshot is abruptly unavailable in any medium. Audiences will now have the chance to own Bloodshot right away and see it at home, where we are all spending more time. We are confident that—like other businesses hit hard by the virus—movie theaters will bounce back strongly, and we will be there to support them.”
The Vin Diesel-led movie is an adaptation of the Valiant Comics series of the same name and was one of the last major theatrical releases to hit theaters before the impact of the coronavirus took hold.
March 18, 2020: Movie theaters to ask the government for loans and tax benefits
With all movie theaters now closed for what’s looking more and more likely to be several months at a time, owners will be looking towards the government to help out and provide assistance. In a report filed by Variety, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) will be lobbying President Trump and Congress for “loan guarantees to ease a liquidity squeeze” that’s likely to come.
Additionally, NATO will seek tax benefits to help respective chains provide benefits to employees who are likely to be out of work Finally, a push for tax measures to help chains recover their losses when the industry is functioning again will also be in consideration.
NATO is one of the first lobbying groups to push for any sort of government assistance, having been one of the hardest-hit groups in the immediate wake of the coronavirus—and will serve as an interesting test case as more and more industries are affected.
March 18, 2020: Filming on Friends reunion special on HBO Max halted
Check in with the white women in your life, as the latest coronavirus-related production change is the HBO Max Friends reunion special. Deadline has learned that filming of the special, set to debut with the new service, has been rescheduled for May. However, even with that shifted timeline, the special will still be ready in time for launch. So not entirely doom and gloom, all things considered.
The full cast—Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer—will return and reunite on Warner Bros.’ famed Stage 24 location, along with creators of the show Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane.
March 18, 2020: Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show: At Home Edition to be tagged to broadcast reruns
Jimmy Fallon is getting creative with how he’s distributing new content during the coronavirus. On Tuesday, Fallon shot the first installment of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: At Home Edition. As evidenced by its name, the short YouTube video featured Fallon performing a monologue from, you guessed it, his house. Now, these new daily quick hits will be attached to reruns of the show in its normal time slot.
Wednesday’s initial installment is set to feature Fallon web conferencing with Lin-Manuel Miranda and will also be used as a donation drive, with a new charity featured every day. The format will change on a day-to-day basis, but is rumored to feature a monologue, a guest interview over Zoom conferencing, and “more.”
You can see the first installment below.
March 18, 2020: Roughly 120,000 crew jobs lost in the wake of coronavirus
It’s estimated that roughly 120,000 “below-the-line” entertainment industry employees have lost their jobs in the wake of coronavirus. That number is reflective of “about 80%” of the members in the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
One of the more startling things about this guide was when I was initially putting it all together, lining up news bit after news bit, all right next to one another really put the seriousness of the whole situation into a harsh perspective. That reality only gets more staggering when you read a news item like this where you can see a tangible number of how many have been affected.
The one bit of good news is that the industry is moving to help, with the trustees and management of the Motion Picture Industry Health plan looking to gather and discuss how and where they can help.
March 19, 2020: Lost actor Daniel Dae Kim tests positive, while Lost alumni Evangeline Lilly refuses to self-quarantine
In a ten-minute long Instagram video, Lost and Hawaii Five-0 actor Daniel Dae Kim publicly announced he has tested positive for the coronavirus. The actor had been in New York filming an episode of NBC’s New Amsterdam (wherein, “ironically” he was playing a doctor who gets brought in to help during a flu pandemic). After returning to Hawaii, Kim said he felt “scratchiness” in his throat, but was largely asymptomatic. As soon as he felt strange, the actor self-quarantined while he waited for the results.
He also conveyed the seriousness of the situation, which he should pass along to his former Lost co-star Evangeline Lilly. According to a report from Variety, the titular Wasp of Ant-Man and the Wasp took to social media a few days ago (although it’s just now making the trade rounds) that life for her and her two young kids is “business as usual.”
Commenters, of course, took the actress to task over her statement, but as of this point in time, Lilly has not issued a follow-up response of any sort. We can only hope she’ll change her tune, as this is a decidedly tough look.
March 19, 2020: Conan O’Brien to shoot full episode of Conan on iPhone, video chat
Late night host Conan O’Brien is finding new ways to still put together his nightly TBS show. The host will return to TV starting Monday, March 30 for new episodes. The show will be shot remotely with an iPhone and will feature guest interviews over (presumably) FaceTime.
Seemingly incapable of taking a break—just watch his documentary if you want living proof—O’Brien now joins Jimmy Fallon in finding new ways to entertain the public even in the midst of a global crisis.
March 19, 2020: Cannes Film Festival postponed as festival eyes new date for late June
With SXSW and the Tribeca Film Festival already folding their events, the last major unknown was the annual Cannes Film Festival. However, Variety has learned that show will not go on—at least not during its originally scheduled dates of May 12-23.
Organizers are reportedly targeting a late June or early July date, but nothing has been officially confirmed at this point. However, as the pandemic continues to stretch on, we might see this date move or shift again before it is all said and done.
March 19, 2020: Ben Affleck’s The Way Back to make its way back to VOD release on March 24
Following in the footsteps of many other releases over the last few days, the Warner Bros. release The Way Back, starring Ben Affleck, will hit VOD services on Tuesday, March 24 for $19.99.
The Gavin O’Connor directed feature stars Affleck as an alcoholic who gets a shot at redemption by coaching a high school basketball team. The movie was released just a few weeks before the coronavirus really put theaters in a stronghold and received generally positive reviews. The movie hit especially close to home for Affleck, who opened up about his struggles with drinking in a candid New York Times interview last month. Long may our guy enjoy his vacation with Ana de Armas.
March 19, 2020: Box office results continue to dive—while drive-ins surge
Considering the fact that most major theater chains are now closed, it’s not shocking to hear the box office totals are hitting all-time lows. According to Deadline, the gross for Wednesday alone was $260,000. To offer a little bit more perspective, that’s down 98 percent from around the same time last March when Captain Marvel led theaters to a $10.6 million dollar gross.
However, this time has seen a boon for some of the last remaining drive-in movie theaters. Of the 305 remaining drive-ins, including some in California and Florida, are continuing to see solid business—even with the supply of new movies starting to taper off. For example, California’s Paramount Drive-In took in a gross of $1,183 on Wednesday.
The inherent experience of a drive-in makes for a social distancing-friendly activity that still allows people to get out of their homes. Perhaps we’ll see more pop-up drive-ins during this time.
March 20, 2020: Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis movie continues to halts production
In the wake of the coronavirus, the Baz Luhrmann Elivs biopic will continue to stay dark, even as one of its stars, Tom Hanks, is seemingly on the mend.
The director confirmed on Friday that “this is not the moment to be resuming production on the film.” Luhrmann went on to further state that this was in no way a lack of commitment to making the movie, but rather a decision made entirely in an effort to better protect the cast and crew of the film.
March 20, 2020: Disney and Pixar’s Onward hits VOD later today before dropping on Disney+ on April 3, delays launch of service in India
Mark Disney as the latest studio to jump into dropping theatrical releases onto streaming. At 8 p.m. on Friday night, Disney and Pixar’s Onward will be available to purchase digitally ahead of an eventual Disney+ release on April 3.
In a press release, director Dan Scanlon stated, “While we’re looking forward to audiences enjoying our films on the big screen again soon, given the current circumstances, we are pleased to release this fun, adventurous film to digital platforms early for audiences to enjoy from the comfort of their homes.”
The Tom Holland and Chris Pratt starring film focuses on two, teenage elf brothers who go on a magical and mythical quest to bring their late dad back to life for one last day.
However, the movie won’t appear on Disney+ in India, as the studio has put their plans to launch their streaming service on hold. It’s been revealed that Disney has pushed the launch of the service “indefinitely” despite the fact it was set to originally debut on March 29.
Disney+ was set to tie-in alongside the debut of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament, but with the sporting event delayed due to coronavirus, Disney will put their plans on hold for the time being.
March 20, 2020: NBC News staffer passes away after testing positive for coronavirus
It’s been announced by NBC News that longtime audio technician Larry Edgeworth has passed away after he tested positive for the coronavirus.
Deadline reports that Edgeworth suffered from other health issues and therefore more than likely fell into a high-risk category for the disease.
Edgeworth specifically worked for NBC News for 25 years as a “skilled audio technician” and was known to be a “gentle giant who would give you the shirt off his back.”
Complex’s thoughts are with the Edgeworth family during this trying time.
March 20, 2020: Daytime Emmys canceled
Originally set for June, the National Academy for Television Arts & Sciences announced on Thursday that its 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards ceremony will not move forward at this time.
Deadline reported the news along with a statement from NATAS chairman Terry O’Reilly stating, “As there are so many unknowns right now with the flow of information changing on a daily, almost hourly, basis, it would simply be irresponsible to move forward with our annual celebration of excellence in daytime television at this time.”
As of this writing, there is currently no new scheduled date for the show.
March 20, 2020: Warner Bros mulling over choice to have Wonder Woman 1984 skip theatrical release entirely
They say desperate times call for desperate measures—and this news might be the most shocking of all. Accordingly to a report from The Wrap, Warner Bros. is currently having an internal discussion about whether or not the hotly anticipated Wonder Woman 1984 should skip theaters altogether in favor of a streaming release.
Currently scheduled for a June 5 release, this would—simply put—be an unprecedented decision. Many theatrical releases that have been delayed due to the coronavirus have promised to be rescheduled for future dates. It’s not an overstatement to say that a straight to digital release of a blockbuster like Wonder Woman 1984 would be seen as a paradigm-shifting choice.
The Wrap currently says that it would be a VOD release over a release on the upcoming HBO Max streaming service, perhaps in order to still generate revenue. Directed by Patty Jenkins, the sequel to the 2017 hit includes returning cast members Gal Gadot and Chris Pine while featuring new additions Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal.
March 20, 2020: Sonic the Hedgehog races to VOD early
The latest theatrical to VOD release is none other than Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog. The movie originally hit theaters back in mid-February, but as with many other titles, is now the latest film to race to a video-on-demand service ahead of its intended drop.
The James Marsden, Ben Schwartz, and Jim Carrey family comedy will be released digitally on March 31, presumably for $19.99, as that’s been the standard rate for most other titles.
March 20, 2020: Despite suspension on production, Power spinoff crew member diagnosed with coronavirus
Despite the production’s best attempt to ensure the utmost safety and security for its crew, Power Book II: Ghost has seen one of its crew members diagnosed with coronavirus.
Both Power spinoffs halted their productions last Friday, but as Deadline reports, that’s also the day this crew member went into self-quarantine. According to the report, this crew member is currently “stable.”
We wish nothing but a safe and speedy recovery to this individual.
March 20, 2020: Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani’s The Lovebirds to hit Netflix
According to an exclusive report from Deadline, the new Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani comedy vehicle, The Lovebirds, will be dropping on Netflix after it was pulled from its initial April 3 release.
This particular deal has apparently been in “the works for a while,” but there’s no official timeline on when we can anticipate it to hit the streaming service. The Lovebirds was one of the many movies that was delayed last Friday, along with Fast 9 and A Quiet Place Part II.
We’ll keep you all posted as details develop, but right now, this seems like a win-win for all involved, as Netflix gets a high-profile film to add to its slate and Paramount gets to take advantage of Netflix’s, uh, rather captive audience.
March 21, 2020: Andy Cohen tests positive for coronavirus
In a statement on Instagram on Friday, talk show host Andy Cohen revealed he has tested positive for the coronavirus.
This announcement comes in the wake of plans for Cohen to do a version of his show, Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, however those plans have been put on hold for the time being as to ensure a full recovery.
You can see Cohen’s full statement below. We wish him a safe and speedy recovery.
March 21, 2020: A fourth employee at Fox News now has coronavirus
Let me be straightforward here: I wasn’t really paying a ton of attention to who at Fox News may or may not have had the coronavirus, but an alarming report has revealed that a fourth (!) staffer at the media company has tested positive for the coronavirus.
All those infected worked at the company’s NYC headquarters.
We wish a safe and speedy recovery to all.
March 21, 2020: Trevor Noah’s The Daily Social Distancing Show to begin primetime airings
In a similar fashion to Jimmy Fallon and Conan’s DIY shows, Comedy Central and Trevor Noah will begin to air the appropriately named The Daily Social Distancing Show with Trevor Noah beginning on Monday, March 23 according to a press release from the network.
The show will air during its normal timeslot and is produced and distributed entirely through remote work. Installments had seen high traction on YouTube and is the first show in late-night to askew reruns of any sort. Additionally, Noah will be using his platform to encourage donations to the charities No Kid Hungry and City Harvest.
This may also portend a return for David Spade’s Lights Out with David Spade. The comedian has been doing a series of “Lo-Fi Monologues” from his house over Instagram. You can see both Noah’s and Spade’s social distancing-friendly work below.