In a disappointing, if predictable turn, the Walt Disney Company announced it will delay the release of its current slate of major film releases due to the unresolved COVID-19 pandemic. That includes the release of Marvel Studios’ The Eternals, which will feature the first-ever big-screen gay superhero couple.
Actor Brian Tyree Henry plays the gay hero Phastos in the film, while Haaz Sleiman plays his husband. When Phastos isn’t off designing crazy new gadgets for the other members of the Eternals team, he and Sleiman’s character also play dads to a young child. Richard Madden, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan and Kit Harington also star.
Originally set for release this November, Disney has now moved the film to a November 5, 2021 release date. In addition, the company has pushed Black Widow to May 2021, and the much-anticipated remake of West Side Story from Christmas of this year to Christmas, 2021.
The news comes after the company decided to forgo a US theatrical release for the live-action version of Mulan; the film appeared on the streaming service Disney+ and in cinemas overseas earlier this month to a disappointing box office haul. Moreover, other theatrical releases, including Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, have yielded lower-than-expected box office sales, as most movie houses in the US remain shuttered due to the coronavirus.
Disney’s announcement of the rescheduling of its films, including The Eternals, comes as cases of COVID-19 continue to spike around the country. Earlier this week, the United States officially passed 200,000 deaths due to the virus.