James Corden voices Peter Rabbit in “Peter Rabbit 2.”
The release of “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway” has been pushed back to August, Sony Pictures said Tuesday, citing concerns over how the coronavirus outbreak has disrupted the movie industry in Europe.
This is the second film from a major studio to be moved from its April release in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. MGM and Universal last week pushed the release date of “No Time to Die” to November.
“Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway” is a follow-up sequel to 2018’s “Peter Rabbit,” a live-action/CGI mash-up featuring James Corden as the voice of the infamous bunny. The film was set to launch in the U.K. and elsewhere in European March 27 and reach other international markets and the U.S. on April 3.
The film will now be postponed until Aug. 7.
The first “Peter Rabbit” made 67% of its $351.2 million box office haul outside North America. The film had a production budget of about $50 million.
Europe and Asia have had major theatrical market disruptions in recent weeks. On Monday, the Italian government installed a nationwide quarantine, while France and Slovakia have recently shuttered a number of cinemas, and China’s theaters have been closed for weeks.
The decision from Sony Pictures to move “Peter Rabbit 2” from its pre-Easter weekend to mid-summer will likely deeply impact regions where theaters remain open.
“I think in terms of the exhibitors — AMC, Cinemark and others — I doubt that this is money that they will be able to make up in the calendar year,” said Tom Nunan, a lecturer at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. “I think this is going to be a hit in the way that cruise lines or out-of-home amusements are being hit.”
Concerns about lost box office revenue have weighed on the stocks of movie theater operators. Shares of AMC have slumped more than 41% over the last month and the stock hit an all-time low of $3.68 per share on Monday. Cinemark is down 34% over the last month.
Disclosure: Comcast owns NBCUniversal and CNBC. Universal is releasing “No Time To Die” internationally while MGM handles the domestic release.