The release of the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson, has been postponed until December.
The highly-anticipated movie is directed by Liesl Tommy and features a star-studded cast including Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Mary J. Blige, and Tituss Burgess.
It was announced on Thursday that bosses at MGM have decided to move the release date of the biopic from 9 October to a limited run starting on 25 December.
Respect will then expand on 8 January, ahead of a full release across the U.S. on 15 January, to kick off the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, according to Deadline.
The move is thought to have been done in order to improve Hudson’s chances of landing an Oscar nomination for her performance as the soul icon.
Hudson, who won an Academy Award for her performance in Dreamgirls back in 2007, was personally picked for the role in the musical biopic by Franklin before she passed away in 2018 at the age of 76.
The movie was due to be competing against Kenneth Branagh’s Agatha Christie sequel Death on the Nile and Robert Zemeckis’ big-screen adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, The Witches.
However, release schedules for the year have been thrown into disarray due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has closed thousands of cinema chains across the world.
Movies including The Batman, Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid, and Mission: Impossible 7 have had production halted amid the global pandemic, and Joel Coen’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth has also been affected.
The drama, starring Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, and Brendan Gleeson, was set to begin filming in Los Angeles, but has been postponed as the city is on lockdown to stop the spread of the virus, according to the publication.
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