Immediately after Paramount pushed its Tom Cruise tentpole “Top Gun: Maverick” into 2022, film theater house owners are escalating nervous, anxious the shift could encourage a stampede of film delays. With the theatrical organization stuck in a variant-induced limbo, Hollywood is reexamining the distribution strategies for forthcoming movies like MGM’s Bond sequel “No Time to Die,” Marvel’s “Eternals” and Sony’s “Venom: Let There be Carnage.”

Will these movies, all of which approach to have special theatrical releases, debut in cinemas as anticipated, or will their respective studios once more press them further more into the future? As the delta variant carries on to unfold, the likely domino impact from “Top Gun: Maverick” feels familiar. Immediately after all, a lot of of these movies have been delayed many situations as COVID-19 carries on to ravage quite a few pieces of the world. Nevertheless the hottest retreat might derail any hope the motion picture theater sector would recuperate by the year’s close.

However reps for Sony, MGM, Disney, Common and Warner Bros. both declined to remark or denied any extra delays on the launch calendar, box business experts predict “Top Gun: Maverick” may well not be the only film to relinquish its place in 2021.

“I never think you can be astonished with any motion these days,” says Eric Handler, an exhibition business analyst with MKM Partners. “It’s a challenging ecosystem to set out a $200 million-budgeted movie.”

For now, several higher-profile films remain on routine via 2021, including Universal’s musical adaptation of “Dear Evan Hansen” (Sept. 24), the Warner Bros. “Sopranos” prequel “The Several Saints of Newark” (Oct. 1), “No Time to Die” (Oct. 8), Sony’s comic reserve sequel “Venom: Let There be Carnage” and Universal’s slasher “Halloween Kills” (Oct. 15), Warner Bros. reimagining of “Dune” (Oct. 22), Marvel’s superhero journey “Eternals” (Nov. 5), Sony’s supernatural comedy “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” (Nov. 19),  Disney’s “West Facet Story” remake (Dec. 10), Sony’s “Spider-Male: Far From Home” (Dec. 17) and Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix Resurrections” (Dec. 22).

One particular ironic bright spot for cinema operators: Because Warner Bros. is placing its overall 2021 slate simultaneously on HBO Max, the studio is unlikely to change about release dates its upcoming movies. The studio’s sports activities drama “King Richard” with Will Smith (Nov. 19), as properly as Clint Eastwood’s Western drama “Cry Macho” (Sept. 17) will also be in theaters and on HBO Max.

Unless of course motion picture theaters witness a noteworthy enhance in attendance, insiders believe that “No Time to Die” might have no alternative but to transfer. That’s since veteran producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, who have unparalleled control in excess of the venerable film franchise, are not likely to make it possible for the 007 experience to debut at the same time on streaming platforms, which would cushion the blow from depressed ticket gross sales. Maintaining the 25th installment in the very long-running British spy sequence in theaters, at minimum at a time when audiences have expressed increased apprehension about heading to the films, continues to be dangerous due to the fact Bond entries are enormously pricey undertakings and have to have to make hundreds of millions in the hopes of breaking even.

Star Daniel Craig’s very last major-monitor outing in 2015’s “Spectre” grossed $880 million globally, even though 2012’s “Skyfall” designed $1.1 billion. So significantly, only just one Hollywood motion picture — Universal’s “F9: The Quick Saga” ($704 million) — has been able to crystal clear the $500 million mark at the worldwide box workplace amid the pandemic. For “No Time to Die,” that would be a catastrophic result. MGM, nonetheless, continues to be adamant the film will retain its Oct. 8 launch date.

“How can MGM not be anxious? So considerably of its revenue is tied to Bond,” Handler says. “They just can’t afford for it not to do effectively.”

Sony’s slate, particularly its “Venom” sequel in Oct, appears to be equally unstable. Sony is the only big studio that does not have its very own streaming assistance, so it has expended a great deal of the pandemic licensing its movies to electronic gamers like Netflix and Amazon. The initial “Venom,” starring Tom Hardy as the journalist turned alien symbiote, in 2018 created a killing overseas, with virtually $650 million of its $856 million worldwide tally coming from the global box office. Nowadays, Hardy’s mumbling antihero would battle to replicate individuals ticket profits, specifically considering that most Hollywood motion pictures haven’t been granted release dates in China. “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” which arrives three a long time just after the primary, could likewise be relocated from late November into next calendar year with small impression. The hope is that by late December, when Tom Holland is set to reprise his position in “Spider Gentleman: No Way Property,” the box business office will be much more stable and mother and father will feel comfortable using the loved ones to the nearby multiplex.

When it will come to the year’s other huge comic guide assets, resources say Disney has two to three months to make a final decision about plans for “Eternals,” the future Marvel movie directed by Oscar-winner Chloe Zhao and starring Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan, Package Harington, Richard Madden and Kumail Nanjiani. The studio has been curiously obscure about whether or not the comedian book adaptation will participate in completely in theaters, like “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings,” or have a hybrid release on Disney Additionally, like “Black Widow.” Throughout the marketplace, “Shang-Chi” will be intently examined this weekend to see how the blockbuster hopeful performs on the large display screen.

Early monitoring signifies a start out around $45 million to $55 million in its initially 3 times of launch, which would set a Labor Working day weekend report but would rank as the least expensive debut at any time for a Marvel movie. But, putting “Black Widow” concurrently on Disney Plus brought about a lot of drama (and resulted in a steep next-weekend drop) that could be averted with an distinctive theatrical window for “Eternals.” Is that sufficient for the studio to forgo the potential thousands and thousands in electronic downloads and new subscribers?

With “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Jackass Permanently,” the most recent installment in the shock comedy franchise starring Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O, pushed into following calendar year, Paramount does not have any videos coming out until eventually “Scream” opens Jan. 14, 2022 — leaving its not too long ago introduced kid’s movie “PAW Patrol” to do the weighty lifting.

That leaves Common, the studio that cast a offer with film theater owners last calendar year to shorten the theatrical window and carry motion pictures extra immediately to the house. Just one of its forthcoming films, which contains “Sing 2” in addition to “Halloween Kills” and “Dear Evan Hansen,” could follow the release pattern of “The Manager Toddler: Loved ones Enterprise,” the animated sequel that premiered at the same time in theaters and on Peacock, the streaming provider owned by NBCUniversal. But for the most part, Universal’s pact with chains, these types of as AMC and Cinemark, have provided it more than enough of a cushion if box office environment revenues fall brief.

For several cinema operators, the prolonged feeling of uncertainty about wherever and when new videos will be produced is very little new. But that doesn’t make the actuality any fewer devastating.