If it wasn’t for the variety being provided by the streaming services available, then 2020 would be the leanest year for movies in decades. As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, almost every major title has been pulled from the theatrical schedule and shifted into 2021 or sent exclusively to whichever streaming platform is either owned by the studio in question or pays the hefty distribution fee.
The industry has been on its knees for almost eight months, and the only signs of sustained recovery are being shown in China where local productions The Eight Hundred and My People, My Homeland have become the two highest-grossing movies globally after both raking in over $450 million each.
One positive is that 2021 is shaping up to be the most stacked year ever, although the immediate future is bleak for both the larger and smaller chains, with many of them seriously struggling for capital. Things have gotten so bad, in fact, that there are only five big budget films heading to theaters between now and the end of 2020, and even then there’s still the chance that they could end up getting yanked from the calendar.
The Croods: A New Age is the only major release set for November (arriving on the 25th), while December brings Ryan Reynolds’ action blockbuster Free Guy (the 11th), Kenneth Branagh’s sequel Death on the Nile (the 18th), Wonder Woman 1984 (the 25th) and Paul W.S. Anderson’s video game adaptation Monster Hunter (the 30th). That’s a very thin lineup, but at least the world of streaming has plenty of great movies still to come including Hillbilly Elegy, Mank and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom on Netflix, Eddie Murphy’s long awaited follow-up Coming 2 America on Amazon Prime Video and Pixar’s Soul debuting on Disney Plus on Christmas Day.