Universal Pictures is moving the domestic release of animated comedy “The Croods: A New Age” forward by a month, from Dec. 23 to Nov. 25 — the start of the Thanksgiving holiday.
That sets the sequel five days after the release of Pixar’s existential toon “Soul.” Variety first reported on Monday that Disney is exploring various release options for “Soul” — still scheduled to launch on Nov. 20 — including possibly debuting it on Disney Plus. Disney will also likely delay “Black Widow,” the Marvel superhero adventure slated to open on Nov. 6.
“The Croods: A New Age” will open five days after MGM and Universal launch the 25th James Bond movie, “No Time to Die.” The animated sequel will bow on the same day as Sony’s rom-com “The Happiest Season” and Lionsgate’s sci-fier “Voyagers.”
Warner Bros., meanwhile, recently postponed the release of “Wonder Woman 1984” from Oct. 2 to Dec. 25. The studio’s sci-fi epic “Dune” is still slated to open a week earlier on Dec. 18, but there’s a good chance the pic — starring Timothee Chalamet, Oscar Isaac and Zendaya — will be pushed into 2021 to avoid the competition.
The original “Croods,” centered on a prehistoric family, was a solid performer that grossed $587 million worldwide in 2013. The voice cast includes Nicolas Cage, Catherine Keener, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds. They’re joined in the second installment by Peter Dinklage, Leslie Mann and Kelly Marie Tran.
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“A New Age” is directed by Joel Crawford, who has worked on multiple DreamWorks Animation films, including “Trolls” and the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise, and is produced by Mark Swift.
The North American movie business was forced to shutter in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiplexes have been opening gradually in the past two months with limited capacity and safety protocols in place. About 70% of movie theaters in the U.S. have reopened, but the New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco markets remain closed. Additionally, Warner’s pricey thriller “Tenet” has grossed only $29 million domestically in two weeks — a sign that many moviegoers remain uncomfortable with the notion of returning to cinemas.