Marvel: How did the pandemic affect its premiere program?

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If there was a timeline in which we were not experiencing a pandemic, one of the many differences would be the MCU’s release schedule. In this hypothetical situation, for example, we would have already watched Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, while Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness would be just over a month from the launch.

This hypothetical situation helps to illustrate how the entire entertainment world has been affected and the case of the MCU is quite illustrative. That’s because, all the big studios follow a strict schedule when deciding on the opening dates of their films. Choosing a window during the summer in the United States may result in a larger box office, however, the film will compete with other major premieres.

The same goes for releases at the end of the year, which would be compensated with greater chances in the cinema awards, such as the Oscars. The difference is that the MCU draws more attention, as it is only about hero films, while Warner Bros. need to decide when to launch Duna and Space Jam 2, for example.

Probably the most critical situation for Marvel happened with the release of Black Widow. The heroine’s solo movie was due to hit theaters on May 1, 2020. When the film was postponed for the first time in March, the studio had already released the final trailer, and was focused on the premiere. This represents a loss, since marketing expenses on the eve of the launch are usually the largest, to encourage audiences to go to theaters.

At the same time, Marvel also announced the halt to the recording of Falcão and the Winter Soldier. The series, starring Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan should be the first to debut on Disney +, presenting the consequences after the events of Avengers: Endgame, mainly involving Captain America.

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With the change, Disney needed to review its strategy and launch WandaVision, which was more advanced in production, beforehand. The series, which also had the post-Ultimatum consequences, was more focused on the character of Elizabeth Olsen and was the first MCU Phase 4 premiere.

Other productions such as Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 are due to hit theaters in 2023, and are currently in pre-production. Meanwhile, Fantastic Four and Blade, which have already been confirmed for production, go on without a premiere date.

Below you can see the main changes in the MCU calendar so far.

Black Widow

From May 1, 2020, exclusively in theaters, to July 9, 2021, in theaters and Disney + with Premier Access.

Eternals

From November 6, 2020, to November 5, 2021, maintaining an exclusive theatrical release.

Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Premiere at Disney + changed from late 2020 to March 19, 2021.

WandaVision

Premiere at Disney + remained in early 2021.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

From February 12, 2021 to September 3, 2021, exclusively in theaters.,

Loki

Premiere at Disney + changed from May 2021 to June 11, 2021.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
From May 7, 2021 to March 25, 2022, exclusively in theaters.

Spider-Man: No Way Home
From July 16, 2021 to December 17, 2021, exclusively in theaters.

Thor: Love and Thunder
From November 5, 2021 to May 6, 2022, exclusively in theaters.

Black Panther 2
From May 5, 2022 to July 8, 2022, exclusively in theaters.

Captain Marvel 2
From July 7, 2022 to November 11, 2022.

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