March 17, 2020 / 5:39 PM / 18 days ago

UPDATE 1-Disney delays Marvel's 'Black Widow' debut due to coronavirus

(Adds details on film, background)

LOS ANGELES, March 17 (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co will postpone the May 1 theatrical release of Marvel movie "Black Widow" to a future date because of the coronavirus outbreak, as theaters close and people are advised not to congregate, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

The action movie starring Scarlett Johansson as her popular Avengers character was scheduled to kick off the summer blockbuster season, which is Hollywood's most lucrative time at theater box offices.

Disney said it decided to postpone "Black Widow" because of the temporary closure of movie theaters in some areas and the guidance from U.S. health authorities that people avoid large gatherings.

The company also said it will delay the debuts of movies "The Personal Histories of David Copperfield" and "The Woman in the Window." Both had been scheduled to reach theaters in May.

Earlier, Disney had pulled the release of the live action version of it animated epic adventure "Mulan" and two other films amid the global coronavirus outbreak. (Reporting by Lisa Richwine, Editing by Franklin Paul and Bill Berkrot)

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