Candyman Delayed Until 2021, Director Nia DaCosta Explains Why

Director Nia DaCosta’s reboot of horror classic Candyman will no longer arrive in October as planned, and will instead premiere in 2021.

Candyman‘s comeback movie has, once again, seen its release date delayed, this time completely moved off the 2020 calendar year.

Amongst massive shifts for the long-set fall release dates of big studio films, the Universal/MGM/Monkeypaw/BRON co-produced Candyman horror reboot movie has likewise been moved from its most recently scheduled October 16 release date to the vague window of an unspecified date in 2021. Interestingly, the film’s director, Nia DaCosta, took to Twitter to provide the reasoning behind the move. However, the tweet in question—and her account—has mysteriously been deleted. As she explained:

“We wanted the horror and humanity of CANDYMAN to be experienced in a collective, a community, so we’re pushing Candyman to next year, to ensure that everyone can see the film, in theaters, and share in that experience.”

DaCosta’s explanation seemingly squelched any rumors that Candyman would switch to a day-and-date distribution strategy—à la recent release Bill & Ted Face the Music—of primarily manifesting as a premium video-on-demand (PVOD) release, with simultaneous limited theatrical showings. While there are certainly several metric-minded variables that contributed to the decision, DaCosta’s tweet indicated a desire to ensure audiences experience the film in the medium in which it was made to be presented. However, the subsequent deletion of the tweet might indicate that things have changed with regard to the distribution strategy.

The artistic reason cited by DaCosta regarding Candyman’s 2020 exit is also complemented by a possible adherence to financial caution. Pertinently, director Christopher Nolan’s Tenet—the most prominent would-be blockbuster to have stayed the theatrical course—has spent the past few weeks as king of the proverbial molehill, with a meager (by normal standards,) Labor Day weekend domestic debut of $20.2 million that dramatically plummeted by 66.8% this past weekend. It’s a development that seems to indicate that the majority of movie patrons are not quite ready to return to the indoor, closely-seated pastime.

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Of course, the distribution journey of Candyman is hardly a unique pandemic story, seeing as just about every major movie originally scheduled past the first quarter of 2020 has seen release date shifts. Indeed, this film in particular was shifted three times after initially being touted as a summer offering for June 12 before the first COVID-caused delay saw it shifted back to September 25, after which it was again kicked down to the now-nixed October 16 date. Yet, it does seem telling that a new release date was not set with this latest shift, perhaps acknowledging the notion that setting solid dates amidst intrinsic uncertainty has become a fool’s errand.

Delay notwithstanding, Candyman will ultimately arrive as a reboot that’s being called “a spiritual sequel,” reviving the horror film franchise launched by the 1992 movie of the same name, written and directed by Bernard Rose, who adapted Clive Barker’s short story, “The Forbidden,” from his Books of Blood collection. However, the film put a poignant spin on Barker’s story about the titular hook-handed urban legend boogeyman who spits out swarms of bees, depicting him as the vengeful spirit of a black man who was lynched back in 1890, and subsequently haunts a housing project in contemporary Chicago. Tony Todd played the title role in that film, its theatrically-released 1995 sequel, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, and 1999 straight-to-video threequel Candyman: Day of the Dead. While director DaCosta’s revival will see Todd back in the role, the screenplay by Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld places the poltergeist in the modernized context of a 2020s-era Chicago affected by the gentrification of local housing projects. Names like Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Colman Domingo and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett fill the primary cast.

Candyman will, nevertheless, eventually inveigle someone to say his name five times in front of a mirror, facilitating his 2021 arrival. We, of course, will keep you apprised of any changes along the way.