In the latest release delay due to the pandemic, MGM has pushed its Aretha Franklin biopic Respect out of the current awards season and moved the US release from January 15, 2021, to August 13, 2021.
The film, which stars Jennifer Hudson as the iconic late R&B singer, will open wide through UA Releasing and open internationally via Universal Pictures International.
Screen understands executives at MGM and the film’s partner Bron Creative were particularly concerned about spikes and lockdowns across Europe, where cinemas have either been closing temporarily or reducing hours of operation.
Ongoing uncertainty over when cinemas in Los Angeles and New York will reopen – at a time when cases across larges parts of the US are surging again – will have factored into the decision, too.
However executives are understood to be bullish about Respect’s awards prospects for the following season. Summer releases like BlacKkKlansman, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and The Help all went on to earn Oscar best picture Oscar nods. Respect also stars Forest Whitaker and is directed by Liesl Tommy.
MGM also said on Tuesday (October 27) that Tomb Raider 2 starring Alicia Vikander, previously set for March 19, 2021, is currently unset.
That film will be distributed in the US via UA Releasing and internationally through Warner Bros.