Another one bites the dust. Following in the footsteps of the recently delayed Wonder Woman 1984 and Candyman, Sony Animation has decided to move Phil Lord & Chris Miller‘s family sci-fi adventure Connected back from the previously set October 23 release date. That will leave October pretty bare when it comes to new releases to get excited about.
Deadline has news on Sony Animation’s Connected being delayed from its fall release date. But at this time, the studio hasn’t determined exactly when they will try to release the movie in theaters, but it’s believed that they’d still like to get it out before the end of 2020.
In case you missed it back in March, here’s the first trailer and the official synopsis for the film directed by Michael Rianda and co-directed by Jeff Rowe:
When Katie Mitchell (voiced by Abbi Jacobson), a creative outsider, is accepted into the film school of her dreams, her plans to meet “her people” at college are upended when her nature-loving dad Rick (voiced by Danny McBride) determines the whole family should drive Katie to school together and bond as a family one last time. Katie and Rick are joined by the rest of the family, including Katie’s wildly positive mom Linda (voiced by Maya Rudolph), her quirky little brother Aaron (voiced by Mike Rianda), and the family’s delightfully chubby pug Monchi for the ultimate family road trip. Suddenly, the Mitchells’ plans are interrupted by a tech uprising: all around the world, the electronic devices people love – from phones, to appliances, to an innovative new line of personal robots – decide it’s time to take over. With the help of two friendly malfunctioning robots, the Mitchells will have to get past their problems and work together to save each other and the world!
Considering the fact that Connected is a movie geared towards families, it makes perfect sense for it to get bumped back. Theatrical releases in general are in a tough spot right now, as are movie theaters because a majority of audiences aren’t ready to head back to theaters yet, especially parents with kids. So it just doesn’t make financial sense for Sony to risk releasing what they hope to be a big box office draw into theaters during this difficult time.
Though most of the major movie theater chains reopened in an effort to kickstart the box office with the release of Tenet, the film from Christopher Nolan hasn’t proven to be the savior that Warner Bros. and movie theater owners thought it would be. The film has done well at the international box office, where movie theaters are more widely open and the coronavirus pandemic isn’t wreaking as much havoc anymore, but the domestic total is a paltry $29 million so far. Granted, that’s without movie theaters being open in major markets like New York and Los Angeles, but with no indication of when those locations will open, releasing any movie in theaters just isn’t s smart move right now.
So why isn’t Sony just following in the footsteps of Mulan with a premium VOD release? Disney’s live-action remake recently showed that there are plenty of people willing to pay a premium price to watch a theatrical release from the comfort of their home. And it sounds like there’s a chance Pixar’s Soul may follow suit. Unfortunately for Sony Animation (and Sony Pictures), they don’t have their own streaming service to provide a premium VOD release where they reap most of the benefits. They’d have to go through the usual VOD channels, which isn’t nearly as lucrative of a business move. So they’re forced to hold out for a theatrical release down the road.
Sony isn’t entirely staying out of the theatrical game in the coming weeks though. They still have low key indie titles like The Last Shift starring Richard Jenkins on September 25 and Yellow Rose on October 9. But those movies aren’t going to make much of a dent in the box office, let alone help save movie theaters. And now that Connected has vacated October, the biggest release (for now) is Death on the Nile, the star-studded sequel to Murder on the Orient Express. Oh, and let’s not forget the family comedy War with Grandpa, starring Robert De Niro and his paycheck. Yikes. Maybe movie theaters should have just stayed closed for a little while longer.
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