Paramount Pictures has postponed its theatrical release for “The Lovebirds,” a romantic comedy starring Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae that was scheduled to hit theaters on April 3. The studio, which has not set a new release date, made the move in response to the global impact of coronavirus.
The studio also pulled “Blue Story,” a crime drama that was expected to have a limited release in theaters on March 20. It has not been rescheduled, either.
Multiplexes in Italy, South Korea, China and other areas where the virus has hit the hardest remain shuttered, though theaters in North America have not been closed. But there’s a sense that could change if moviegoers in the U.S. and Canada opt to avoid public spaces as the virus continues to rapidly spread. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has recommended delaying or canceling gatherings with more than 250 people, which could extend to larger theater chains. Officials are also encouraging “social distancing,” as well as avoiding venues that don’t allow six feet of space between people.
Numerous high-profile movies have shifted their release dates as coronavirus has officially become a pandemic. Paramount also delayed the release for “A Quiet Place Part II,” while MGM pushed James Bond entry “No Time to Die” from April to November. Sony pushed “Peter Rabbit 2,” the sequel to its animated adventure, until August. The shift in release dates, as well as the potential for theater closures, would have massive financial impacts on studios and exhibitors.
“The Lovebirds” was supposed to have its world premiere at South by Southwest before the film festival held annually in Austin, Texas, was canceled in the wake of coronavirus. Michael Showalter directed the film, about a couple who unintentionally becomes wrapped up in a murder mystery.