Ryan Reynolds was just about to show audiences a brand new action/sci-fi/comedy film in the form of Free Guy, a totally original story that promised to bring the usual charm, fun, and spectacle that viewers have come to expect from the affable actor. However, it looks like those plans have been scrapped for the time being. What’s even worse is that we don’t have any idea when we will ever see Free Guy.
Disney has announced that they pulled Free Guy from the release schedule for 2020. The film was originally slated to premiere in theaters on December 11. The Ryan Reynolds film would follow the exploits of Guy, a mild-mannered and unassuming person who discovers he is a non-playable character inside a video game world. You can watch the trailer for Free Guy right here, although you’ll want to ignore that release date at the end:
Ryan Reynolds was not the only one to suffer a loss at the movie theaters this upcoming winter. Disney also pulled Death on the Nile, the sequel to Murder on the Orient Express, from its December 18 release date. Both films were originally being developed by 20th Century Fox, but once Disney acquired Fox, they rebranded the studio as 20th Century Studios and had to decide what to do with the projects they had inherited.
Free Guy was actually already slated to open in theaters this past summer on July 3, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced Disney to shift it to December 11. Now, it has been pulled off the release calendar indefinitely with no announcement as to when it will come out. The Ryan Reynolds film clearly looks like it has the potential to be a crowd-pleaser, so it will be interesting to see where Disney decides to place it in the ever-growing 2021 schedule.
Some folks might want the movie to go straight to a streaming platform like Disney+ or Hulu, but that might not be an option for this Ryan Reynolds blockbuster attempt. Because Free Guy was an acquired film from Fox, Disney might be contractually obligated to release it in theaters because of prior standing deals and commitments. A similar issue was thought to be at the heart of The New Mutants‘ release. That film was guaranteed to flop and Disney was ready to dump it, but they could not do so on a streaming platform because of distribution and exhibition deals that were in place while it was a 20th Century Fox production.
So, what could this mean for Free Guy in 2021? Considering its past scheduled release dates, Disney/Fox seems to have confidence in its quality and ability to perform at the box office. July and December are both usually big earning months for theatrical exhibition, so the star power of Ryan Reynolds and the entertaining premise seems to have the Mouse House convinced this could make some serious coin. It does not appear that they want to dump this like they did The New Mutants.
However, Free Guy currently is going to have an abundance of competition in 2021 if it goes the theatrical route. So many major releases have shifted to theatrical release dates in 2021, and the year is getting more crowded with each change. Ryan Reynolds is definitely a draw but it will be hard if Free Guy ends up going against larger properties like Black Widow, Fast & Furious 9, Dune, The Suicide Squad, or any of the other high profile releases that are now packing the 2021 release calendar.
It is going to be interesting to see if Free Guy ends up being one of the major casualties of all this restructuring. It definitely could end up getting crushed due to its original premise. As much as fans often decry reboots, sequels, and other established franchise entries, those are the films that often perform the best at the box office. But, with news about movie theaters becoming even worse with every passing day, there’s the possibility that 2021 might not have much of a box office once things are settled.
We will eventually get to see Ryan Reynolds in Free Guy and it is very likely that it will be released in theaters. Still, knowing that it has yet to receive a new release date is cause for concern. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before we hear an update on when this entertaining flick will make its way to our eyeballs.