Some of these movies are delayed almost a year and some of them have no established release dates at all.
With movie theaters closed down and no clear indication yet as to when life will get back to normal in the U.S. and Europe, it is no surprise that movie companies are postponing the release of summer movies. Summer is, of course, historically a prime time for releasing big, over the top features. The movie companies the theaters and, importantly for this discussion, the toy industry count on summertime as the launch point for movie franchises.
What happens when you are an o.e.m. producer who has already built the inventory, a toy company that has taken ownership of the product or a retailer who has it on its store shelves, and the film doesn’t open or opens later than anticipated? The result is a domino effect in which o.e.m. producers, toy companies and retailers are forced to sit on inventory, alter their merchandising plans, and plead for help from license holders.
Here is a list of 6 major movies and their new release dates according to cInet:
Old Date: July 10, 2020
New Date: March 5, 2021
Old Date: June 20, 2020
New Date: August 14, 2020
Old Date: May 1, 2020
New Date: TBD
Old Date: July 3, 2020
New Date: TBD
Old Date: May 2020
New Date: April 2, 2021
Old Date: July 31, 2020
New Date: March 19, 2021
Also, according to Variety, The Walt Disney Company has temporarily stopped production on Mulan, The Last Duel, The Little Mermaid, Shang-Chi, and The Legend of the Ten Rings, Home Alone, Nightmare Alley, Peter Pan & Wendy, and Shrunk.
As can be seen from the above list, some of these movies are delayed almost a year and some of them have no established release dates at all. Even a movie like the highly anticipated Wonder Woman 1984 is questionable as to how realistic an August release date looks at this time.
Things are going to become clearer in a month (hopefully) but until then, the movie tie-in business is going to be chaotic. Those who own the brands, those who license the intellectual property rights and those who retail the toys are going to have to work together so that they share the burden until the new normal arrives. Until then, we will all have to hold on.