"Black Widow" delayed over coronavirus pandemic

The theater release of upcoming Marvel movie "Black Widow" has been delayed, with Disney confirming that it's schedule for the hotly-anticipated film has been changed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Disney had intended for "Black Widow" to be released on May 1, 2020, the latest installment of the popular Marvel superhero franchise.

Now, though, that's all been scrapped. Disney hasn't confirmed a new release date for the movie, but with theaters temporarily shuttering in order to minimize COVID-19 community spread, clearly the time is not right to tightly pack together Scarlett Johansson fans in one room.

"Black Widow" is the first standalone installment centering the female superhero, with Johansson featuring alongside Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz. It's the 24th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and follows 2016's "Captain America: Civil War" in the overall timeline. Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanoff, is on the run and must deal with her history as a spy, before she joined the Avengers.

Filming began in May 2019, and the movie was officially announced at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con in July. At the same time, a May 1, 2020 release date was confirmed.

"Black Widow" won't be the only movie to miss its planned release, even if it's one of the most high-profile. "The Personal History of David Copperfield" was intended to open on May 8, but has been delayed with no new release confirmed at this point. "F9," the ninth movie in the "Fast & Furious" franchise, has also been pushed back: it now won't open in May, and has been delayed to April 2021.

Even if studios wanted to, they increasingly couldn't release their titles. Movie theater chains are announcing that they're closing their locations in response to the health crisis, with AMC Theaters and Regal Cinemas each confirming on Monday that they were shutting down until further notice.

In an attempt to work around the pandemic, Disney has taken more drastic moves. Earlier this week it added "Frozen 2" to its Disney+ on-demand subscription streaming service earlier than originally planned.