MGM has recently pushed back two of their big movies slated for early 2021. Respect, the Aretha Franklin biopic, was slated for a January 15, 2021 release, is now delayed until August 13, 2021, while the initial March 19, 2021 release for Alicia Vikander’s Tomb Raider 2 is now delayed indefinitely.
These delays come off the United States seeing surges in COVID-19 cases, and the domestic box office suffering. Honest Thief, which led the US box office, made around $5 million during week 42 of the year.
To contrast, the top three grossing movies of week 42 in 2019 were Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Joker, and Zombieland: Double Tap. Those movies made $36 million, $29 million, and $26 million, respectively, via Box Office Mojo. To say the domestic box office is withering in 2020 is an understatement.
Theaters in the gigantic markets of Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco remained all, but closed due to the ongoing pandemic. Regal theaters have remained closed all throughout the country, and foreign countries are not faring much better during the second wave as Italy recently announced their theater closure.
Respect, which was initially slated for a 2020 release then got pushed to early 2021 before the latest delay, is now out of the 2021 awards season. Though, the 2022 awards season is hoping to bring some normalcy back to Hollywood, although it will be highly competitive as every studio has a plethora of films waiting for crowds to be able to attend theaters once more.
Respect is about singer, songwriter, and 18 time Grammy award winner Aretha Franklin, who passed away in 2018. Franklin hand chose academy award winner Jennifer Hudson to play the singer before her death. The film is directed by theater and TV director Liesl Tommy in her feature debut. In addition to Hudson, the cast includes Forest Whitaker, Brenda Nicole Moorer, Marlon Wayans, Marc Maron, and Tituss Burgess.
The biopic is now slated for an August 13, 2021 release.