Following the outbreak of Omicron, movie fans have been concerned that we’re set to experience some major deja vu with film releases, especially after yet another delayed release date for Morbius.
However, a box office expert has reassured us that this time round is very different.
Chatting to Metro.co.uk, Shawn Robbins, Chief Analyst at Box Office Pro, insisted: ‘I think we have to keep expectations fluid as always, but there has so far been no signal that a wide swath of major delays will occur.
‘Morbius was in an odd position with the Omicron wave, but many also speculate Sony’s decision to push it back could have also been related to Spider-Man [No Way Home]’s massive success — which has diminished the immediate need for that particular studio to churn out another box office hit so soon.
‘Tracking for Morbius’ box office prospects was also never at the scale of Spider-Man or even Venom, so a delay to avoid the two shadows of another Covid winter and Spider-Man’s giant achievement isn’t shocking to me.’
Spider-Man: No Way Home absolutely smashed the box office, and became the first pandemic era film to hit the $1billion (£735million) mark.
‘The global marketplace also likely factored into their decision, but ultimately, No Way Home has shown that a significant portion of the moviegoing audience is ready and willing to head back to theaters,’ Robbins added.
‘Sentiment is evolving, but achieving all-time box office numbers during the heart of the Omicron wave speaks to a far healthier state of moviegoing than there was this time last year.’
Robbins went on to point out that early studies suggest that Omicron is less severe strain of Covid-19 (although more transmissible than Delta).
‘There isn’t a great deal of concern yet that studios need to reshape the immediate release calendar in a big way,’ he added. ‘In fact, the industry largely prepared for this type of situation months in advance by not planning for many major releases in January or February anyway.
Film releases to look forward to
January 14: Scream 5
February 4: Jackass Forever
February 11: Death on the Nile
February 18: Uncharted
March 4: The Batman
March 11: Downton Abbey: A New Era
March 25: The Lost City
‘Long before the world knew about Omicron or Spider-Man’s success, the winter movie slate looked pretty bare in case consumers did become slightly more cautious during flu season in tandem with the state of the pandemic.
‘Still, there is enough on the calendar before March to at least keep content heading into the hands of exhibitors before an expected and robust return to form this spring with The Batman and other films.’
The past couple of years have seen huge delays to film releases, which affected blockbusters including No Time To Die, as well as Spider-Man: No Way Home, Mission: Impossible 7, and Top Gun: Maverick.
However, various big releases are set to hit cinemas over the next few months, including Scream 5, Jackass Forever, and The Batman. As for how they’re set to perform, only time will tell.