Disney has set new release dates for its live-action Cruella and Fox's The Woman in the Window. In the months since the Mouse House finalized its purchase of Fox's film and television assets in March, the studio has made several major changes to the latter, resulting in numerous layoffs and multiple Fox projects being cancelled (ranging from smaller dramas to the expensive Mouse Guard). At the same time, Disney has reshuffled its release slate for the next few years, in an effort to avoid pitting the projects it now owns against one another.
Case in point: the studio only recently scheduled Noah Hawley's astronaut drama Lucy in the Sky for early October, taking the spot previously reserved for Woman in the Window. The latter was unofficially delayed a couple months back, in order to give the film time to be retooled via pickup shoots (more on those later). It's now been officially shifted back by several months, along with another Disney-owned production.
Both The Woman in the Window and Cruella were delayed this week and are now set to open on, respectively, May 15, 2020 and May 28, 2021 (rather than October 4, 2019 and December 23, 2020). Woman in the Window will open against Chris Rock's Saw movie on its new date, whereas Cruella is the only film scheduled for its opening day at the moment (with John Wick 4 arriving a week earlier).
Adapted from the novel by A. J. Finn, The Woman in the Window is a mystery-thriller starring Amy Adams as an agoraphobic child psychologist who comes to believe she witnessed a crime while spying on her neighbors. With Joe Wright (Atonement, Hanna) directing and Adams joined by a supporting cast that includes Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore, Brian Tyree Henry, and Anthony Mackie, Woman in the Woman sounds like a promising, Hitchockian genre film and was even viewed as a potential awards contender, prior to its delay. Now, following reports of the movie being revised after test audiences found its plot too confusing, the hope is it won't end up feeling like a watered-down version of Wright's earlier cut.
As for Cruella: the upcoming movie will explore the origins of the titular 101 Dalmatians villain. Emma Stone is starring in the prequel as a young Cruella (aka. Estella), with Craig Gillespie directing her and a cast that so far includes Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, and Gillespie's I, Tonya actor Paul Walter Hauser. It's clear Disney delayed the film (which hasn't started production yet) in order to avoid pitting it against Fox and Steven Spielberg's West Side Story over the 2020 winter holidays, so the move shouldn't be interpreted as a sign of trouble. If anything, the Mouse House is probably hoping Cruella will follow in Aladdin's footsteps and give them an early summer hit in 2021.