Friday June 26, 2020 could be just another day like any other. The gradual release of stay at home orders is giving a boost to local economies everywhere, so by the last Friday in June there could be a large crowd of people looking to beat the heat just before 4th of July celebrations and catch a new flick. Except that won’t happen.
According to the website FirstShowing.net on Friday June 26, 2020 there will be a complete halt to all scheduled movie releases due to a “Pandemic Shutdown”. That’s the same recorded reason for the halt to all movie releases the week of March 20, 2020, which was just 4 days after the White House issued their 15 Days to Slow the Spread guidelines. If you take that at face value, then it would appear that they are predicting a second wave to be hitting around then, which would require immediate responses at least as restrictive as before, but most likely more so. UPDATE: Since writing this article all movies have gone to online streaming and the June 26th “Pandemic Shutdown” was soon removed from the website after we emailed them about it.
The update about the anticipated June closure made it to the website before the end of March. That update is somewhat odd considering the movie industry had no idea that there would be a need to have that date blacked out that far ahead due to the effects of COVID-19 continued lockdown. Initially a lot of studios responded by shuffling scheduled release dates, in fact some got bumped back an entire year. Others are going forward as scheduled, while a few have even elected to release ahead of schedule to satisfy cabin fever ridden fans.
No other date for the entire year is marked with such a designation…just March 20 and June 26th. As I mentioned, there were a number of changes to the release dates this year, but we cross referenced that date to other announced changes, especially if made in early March and this is what we came up with:
Moved from June 26, 2020 to June 18, 2021.
The 2019 film Frozen II was originally planned to be released on Disney+ on June 26, 2020, before it was moved up to March 15. Disney CEO Bob Chapek explained that this was because of the film’s “powerful themes of perseverance and the importance of family messages that are incredibly relevant”.
The N.H.L. suspended its season on March 12 with each team having played about 70 games of the 82-game regular season. The league’s draft, which had been scheduled for June 26 and 27 in Montreal, was postponed, along with the draft scouting combine and draft lottery. The world championship, scheduled for May in Switzerland, was canceled.
This may be reaching a bit based on a suspicious piece of evidence, but the question remains: “Why would they schedule a ‘pandemic shutdown’ almost 3 months in advance?” Do they know about a second wave of COVID-19 in advance that would be so intense that it would demand the closure of movie theatres making that date useless for the scheduling of a release? Unfortunately, only time will tell.