Here is the scenario:
- Studio announces plans to release a new movie
- Virus contagion forces scuttling of release date
- Studio delays and reschedules release date
"Tenet" was postponed twice in June, "Mulan" has been rescheduled three times. It is only logical that this scenario continues as State governments order cinemas to stay shuttered.
Some tentpoles have been shifted to the latter part of the year. Others pushed into 2021 and more than a few beyond that. The problem for the studios is that all of this scheduling and rescheduling cost unforeseen and unbudgeted marketing dollars. It's a chicken n' egg situation - studios want to release but need a critical mass of screens to do it, especially for tentpoles.
"Tenet" and "Mulan" are currently scheduled for release August 12th and August 21st respectively, Marketing budgets for these two movies, according to the studios, are still within budget but another postponement and the marketing of these movies will cease completely until a "very hard" release is scheduled.
It is estimated that pushing the release date for a blockbuster a few weeks ups the marketing costs by $500k but that number could easily mushroom to $5m+ if delays continue. The bulk of any movie's promotion and advertising expense occurs during the two weeks prior to release (promotion normally begins six weeks before release and peaks a week before).
Since cinemas are closed studios have had to reimagine their marketing strategy. Playing trailers in cinemas, having press tours with casts, or other live events are not an option. To counter this, the studios are relying more on social media, apps, and video games. On the reverse side, cinemas can't successfully reopen until there is new content to screen.
The major glitch in this whole mess is that even when reopened and there is great new content screened who is to say moviegoers will show up.