Warner Bros. has officially delayed Godzilla vs. Kong’s release date to Fall 2020. Beginning in 2014, the studio launched what’s since been decreed the MonsterVerse, starting with Gareth Edwards’ American Godzilla movie reboot. That was followed in 2017 by Kong: Skull Island, a prequel set in the ’70s that explores the origins of King Kong in the MonsterVerse. This was all building up to the release of Godzilla vs Kong in 2020, with Adam Wingard (You’re Next, Death Note) calling the shots as director.
However, shortly after this year’s sequel Godzilla: King of the Monsters under-performed at the box office and drew somewhat divisive reviews, WB hinted they might delay Godzilla and Kong’s throw-down from its original March 2020 release date and possibly rework the film in response. The studio has held off on starting the crossover’s marketing campaign since then, leading many to suspect a release delay is not only coming, but inevitable. As of today, though, it’s finally official.
Variety is reporting Godzilla vs. Kong has been pushed back from a March 13, 2020 release date to November 20 the same year, instead. That amounts to a delay of just over eight months total.
Godzilla vs. Kong wrapped production in April (about a month before King of the Monsters hit theaters), so the crossover was never in any danger of being cancelled altogether. All the same, King of the Monsters’ box office haul ($385 million against a $170-200 million budget) gave WB fair reason to pause and reevaluate their approach with the MonsterVerse. Studio head Toby Emmerich previously said Wingard’s film could be delayed to ensure “we can deliver an A+ movie”, but it’s difficult to tell if this means the studio has plans to carry out significant reshoots or is simply going to release Godzilla vs. Kong over a less competitive frame. Either way, this gives Wingard and his team more time to really fine-tune their tentpole in post-production, and the film will undoubtedly benefit from the extra development (as all tentpoles would).
WB had originally claimed the November 20, 2020 slot for Fantastic Beasts 3, but pushed the Wizarding World sequel back by a year after its predecessor, The Crimes of Grindelwald, under-performed both critically and commercially (much like King of the Monsters). As far as replacements for its previous spot go, Godzilla vs. Kong makes sense enough, and should appeal to many of the same core demographics as the Fantastic Beasts movies. The MonsterVerse crossover’s main competition will now come from Marvel’s Eternals and Disney Animation’s Raya and the Last Dragon, which open (respectively) two weeks earlier and five days later. So long as its word of mouth is better than King of the Monsters’, Godzilla vs. Kong should be able to put up a pretty good fight in that box office battle.