Hold on to your Jack-o-Lanterns, folks, this year’s horror schedule just took a big hit. Universal Pictures has announced new releases dates for their upcoming horror headliners, including the much-hyped sequels to 2018’s Halloween revival. Halloween Kills moves from October 16, 2020 to October 15, 2021 with the followup Halloween Ends shifting from October 15, 2021 to October 14, 2022. But it’s not all bad news.
In a joint statement, John Carpenter and writer/director David Gordon Green revealed that Universal is working on plans for an IMAX release for Halloween Kills, which means when we do finally get to see it in theaters, we’re gonna get to see it in even better quality. Who doesn’t want to watch The Shape lumber towards you on the biggest screen possible?
The shift doesn’t exactly come as a surprise given the current trend of surging COVID-19 cases across the United States and the uncertain effect that will have on film distribution and the movie theater industry in the year to come. However, Universal reportedly saw massive success with their direct-to-digital releases at the start of the pandemic, most notably, Trolls World Tour. With folks looking likely to be stuck at home during the Halloween season, you might expect Universal to try to mimic that success. On the flip side, the release of Trolls World Tour was immediately met by huge blowback from the biggest theater chains, with AMC announcing they would no longer show Universal’s movies. So yeah, it’s a mighty complicated time to be distributing movies!
One more interesting factor is that Universal’s Candyman remake has shifted into he October 16, 2020 spot previously held by Halloween Kills, which seems to suggest the company is still holding out hope for a return to theaters by then. We’ll see if that sticks, but watching studios attempt to shuffle and reshuffle in unknown circumstances has certainly been a fascinating insight into their distribution models. (On that note, feel free to place your wagers on how long it will be before Warner Bros. announces the next Tenet delay.)
Check out the full Halloween Kills statement below.
We write this to you heartbroken over the fact that the delay of our film is even a discussion, but if there’s one thing that a career in the film industry has prepared us for, it is the unexpected. Over the past few weeks, our ilm family has looked at the forecast of theatrical exhibition with obvious concern. We have discussed and struggled with how to best present “Halloween Kills” to the loyal fans around the world, as well as the new audience we hope to invite to this experience.
It was a wild and vibrant production. We lined up a cast of legacy characters like Laurie and Tommy, Lindsey, Lonnie, Marion, Brackett and The Shape, then alongside some new faces, we aggressively made the second chapter of our “Halloween” trilogy. It unfolded into an experience that was a creative playground and we feel confident that our misfit pleasures will be seen as an unexpected entry into this franchise.
If we release it in October of this year as planned, we have to face the reality that the film would be consumed in a compromised theatrical experience. After weighing our options, we have chosen to push the film’s theatrical release by one year.
On top of a traditional release, Universal has agreed to an IMA presentation of the film in October 2021. We are sound mixing with one of the greatest design teams that can slash, scream and creep their way under your skin. We’re going to have time to complete the film with the quality that fans deserve. And preparation on “Halloween Ends” has begun as well.
It is an honor to be working with these characters and spending time in Haddonfield. We look forward to sharing our next chapters with you.
David Gordon Green and John Carpenter