With “The Way Back” now in theaters, Warner Bros. Pictures has released their second film of 2020, following “Birds of Prey”… or rather “Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey”… or whatever it’s called now.
But it also means we won’t be seeing the WB logo in theaters for more than two months. The studio’s next release is the CG animated “SCOOB!” on May 15th. That’s followed closely by the highly-anticipated “Wonder Woman 1984” on June 5th, the musical “In the Heights” on June 26th and Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” on July 17th.
Of course, any of these release dates could change at any moment, especially with the unpredictability factor of the Coronavirus. But Warner Bros. is now in the middle of an interesting little period of time.
As of now, WB has just five films opening in the first 6 months of 2020. That’s the fewest since 2009. The studio has known this gap has been coming for a while. And it just happens to be the gap that’s having (and will continue to have) the Coronavirus outbreak on moviegoers’ minds. Will some movie theaters close? Will more films (like MGM’s “No Time to Die”) get delayed? Will other films (like “Trolls: World Tour”) actually move their release date up?
I don’t see WB doing that for “SCOOB!”, though it does open just one week before Paramount’s animated “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” on May 22nd. If “SCOOB!” is complete, would WB actually open it on April 24th, two weeks after “Trolls”? It seems like too drastic of a measure to me, especially since a new “SCOOB!” trailer was just unveiled – and new marketing is underway.
WB can’t move tentpoles like “Wonder Woman 1984”, “In the Heights” or “Tenet” up significantly… or at all. If Coronavirus delays things, they’ll get pushed back, not forward.
So while others like Disney, Universal, Paramount and Sony may be making some big changes in the coming days with their upcoming releases, WB will probably sit quietly (for a bit) and just see how things play out.