Clifford the Big Red Dog has been sitting around like a good boy waiting to be unleashed in theaters in September. Unfortunately, the rising cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 has Paramount Pictures reconsidering a theatrical release for the family friendly film. The studio has pulled Clifford the Big Red Dog from their release calendar with families feeling less likely to attend theaters, especially in larger markets like Los Angeles and New York City.
Deadline has word on Clifford the Big Red Dog being pulled from the previously set theatrical release of September 17, 2021. That’s a month and a half away, so this is quite the preemptive move, but it’s based on the rise of coronavirus cases thanks to the Delta variant that’s much more contagious. This is especially surprising since the movie was tracking well with audiences ahead of the film’s release, but clearly the studio thinks things are going to get worse before they get better (again).
Clifford the Big Red Dog was also slated to debut at the Toronto International Film Festival as one of the Gala Presentations in September. In Canada, the distribution rights belong to eOne rather than Paramount Pictures, and as of now it’s not clear whether the movie will still be screening at the festival. Currently, the festival website doesn’t have any evidence of the movie being included. The festival’s landing page for Clifford the Big Red Dog redirects to the full festival programming line-up, so take from that what you will.
Now the question is whether Paramount Pictures will wait to release Clifford the Big Red Dog at a later date. After all, it’s possible that Paramount Pictures could send the movie to Paramount+, following in the footsteps of Nickelodeons’ The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run or the sci-fi action movie Infinite with Mark Wahlberg. Neither of the movies seemed to make much of a dent in the streaming wars, but with the first Clifford the Big Red Dog trailer racking up 130 million views in its first week, this could be the kind of movie that drives families to a Paramount+ subscription.
Clifford the Big Red Dog is directed by Walt Becker and stars Darby Camp as Emily Elizabeth, a middle-schooler who meets a magical animal rescuer (John Cleese) who gifts her a little, red puppy that magically turns into a big, red dog overnight. While her single mom (Sienna Guillory) is away for business, Emily, Clifford and her fun but impulsive Uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall) set out on an adventure. Stay tuned to find out when you can see this adventure for yourself.
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