As the release clock ticks, the big question now is what to do about Black Widow, F9, and No Time to Die in a world where most movie theaters remain closed and Wonder Woman 1984 just crashed and burned at the box office.

Black Widow, of course, is the latest chapter in the Marvel Universe juggernaut (that I predict is about to lose a lot of steam as it goes woke). It’s scheduled for a May 7 release.

F9 is the next chapter in the insanely popular Fast & Furious saga, and is scheduled for a May 28 release.

No Time to Die is the newest James Bond offering, the first big toe that is supposed to dip into the theatrical water on April 2.

All of these movies were originally supposed to be released last year, early last year. So in a sane world, they would already have been released on DVD and Blu-ray and slightly stale entries on HBO and Showtime.

The talk now, according to the far-left Variety, is that Black Widow is headed to the Disney+ streaming channel at the same time it hits theaters. That would be a crushing defeat for a $200 to $300 million movie that would need to gross twice that just to break even.

The same with F9 and No Time to Kill. Those are billion dollar franchises that need to pass the half-billion mark just to avoid being a box office catastrophe, which was also true for Wonder Woman 1984,and that flop probably won’t cross $200 million worldwide.

The problem is that the studios have huge interest payments on the loans taken out to finance these films and no guarantee that when they do release them, they won’t still crash and burn like Wonder Woman 1984. In fact, there is no guarantee movie-going will ever return to normal. Not this year. Not five years from now.

Just for starters, the Democrats who run most of the major cities, like New York and Los Angeles and Chicago, are adamant about keeping people locked down and terrified, even young people who have almost nothing to fear from this virus. It was lunacy shutting down theaters and terrifying young people. Now they may never come back. There’s probably some cosmic justice in that.

Oh, and nothing is guaranteed overseas…

The collapse of Wonder Woman 1984, especially overseas, is freaking everyone out. That sequel was seen as bullet-proof, part of a franchise with a rock-solid foundation of audience goodwill. But even after all those fake early, raving reviews were released, it didn’t even soar in China, where movie-going is back to normal and the first one was a monster hit.

Worse still, the studios can’t sit around and wait to see how the lay of the land looks around release time. Decisions need to be made right about now. If you’re going to release a new James Bond movie into the world in April, now is when you have to pull the trigger on promotion and advertising. That’s a $100 million to $200 million decision.

Also at risk are some smaller titles. People are wondering about The King’s Man, a prequel to the popular Kingsmen franchise, which is set  for a March 12 release. Seems to me it would be perfect to end up at Disney+ instead.

Meanwhile, Netflix just announced its latest cannon shot across the bow of movie-going normalcy with a  new slate of feature films, promising at least one a week in 2021, 70 in all, and not the typical genre/TV fare. This year, Netflix intends to deliver a regular supply of blockbusters and prestige titles starring the likes of Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, Halle Berry, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kevin Hart, Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington. Sandra Bullock, and on and on…

All these titles will all be released on Netflix’s streaming service, which is a monster change from just last year, which saw only a handful of these type of A-list projects.

Why go to the movies if you can get your action/horror/sci-fi/prestige fix at home?

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.

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