“Bill & Ted Face the Music” has shifted its release plans, and instead the movie will debut on premium video on demand and in select theaters on Sept. 1 as coronavirus cases spike across the country.
The announcement comes following the news that Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” has been taken off release calendars, though it’s still expected to launch in 2020. Since many theater chains had hoped to peg their reopening dates to “Tenet’s” release, the move caused exhibitors to shift their plans.
Already, AMC Theatres — the country’s biggest cinema chain — has delayed plans to reopen, and now expects to resume business in mid to late August. Rival circuits like Regal and Cinemark could follow suit, especially if Disney’s “Mulan” moves off its Aug. 21 release date.
Given the surge in cases of coronavirus, it’s unclear when theaters across the United States will be able to reopen to a significant degree. There’s still no sign when New York City and Los Angeles, the two biggest moviegoing markets in the country, will have permission to restart operations.
“Bill & Ted Face the Music,” which was originally set to open on Aug. 21, is the latest movie to skip a traditional theatrical release amid the pandemic. Other movies, such as Andy Samberg’s “Palm Springs,” Judd Apatow’s “The King of Staten Island,” the third “SpongeBob Squarepants” film and Disney’s “Artemis Fowl,” have modified plans and launched in homes at a time when most movie theaters are closed and people are still staying at home.
The new “Bill & Ted” — starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter — is the third installment in the sci-fi comedy series, following 1989’s “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and 1991’s “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.” The latest entry has been in the works since 2010. The film is directed by Dean Parisot (“Galaxy Quest”), while franchise veterans Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon wrote the script. Set 29 years after their last adventure, “Bill & Ted Face the Music” follows the time-traveling best friends as they set out on a wild adventure to save the world.
Orion Pictures, the studio releasing the film, also showcased a new trailer on Thursday ahead of Comic-Con at Home. The cast will participate in a panel, hosted by Kevin Smith, on July 25.