‘Death On The Nile’ Floats Away To 2022 In Wake Of Armie Hammer LAPD Investigation

While Disney’s seismic theatrical release changes with Black Widow, Cruella and Luca today were on the top of everybody’s minds, it was easy to ignore the elephant in the corner of the room.

We’re specifically talking about Kenneth Branagh’s mystery ensemble Death on the Nile starring Armie Hammer who has been besieged in an alleged sex scandal. The 20th Century Studios production, which reportedly cost $150M and was greenlit by the previous Fox administration before the Disney merger, has changed release dates several times due to the pandemic: From Oct. 23 to Dec. 18 last year to being unset and then finally dated for Sept. 17. Well, now the movie which also stars Gal Gadot, Tom Bateman, Annette Bening and more won’t open until Feb. 11, 2022.

I’m told the release date has nothing to do with Hammer who is under investigation by the LAPD on rape claims, charges which could put The Social Network actor in jail for eight years if found guilty. That said, the new date provides Disney with close to a year in regards to re-thinking any form of its marketing campaign, that is if the movie sticks to its theatrical date. News of the LAPD’s probe of Hammer was shortly learned last Thursday after a Gloria Allred-led press conference in which Hammer’s accuser, a woman by the name of Effie, said “He abused me mentally, emotionally and sexually…I thought that he was going to kill me” regarding an April 2017 incident.

I hear from sources that there aren’t any plans to pull an All the Money in the World with Death on the Nile. In the wake of sexual allegations against the former 2017 film’s actor Kevin Spacey surfacing that autumn, Sony and director Ridley Scott recasted and reshot the Oscar winner’s J. Paul Getty scenes with Christopher Plummer weeks before the pic’s Christmas theatrical release. That was quite a feat for a production which was already locked. My understanding is that it would be hard to pull that off with Hammer’s role of Simon Doyle in Death on the Nile given the movie’s huge ensemble. Following Spacey’s sex scandal, his 2018 movie Billionaire Boys Club was buried on PVOD. No news yet if Death on the Nile heads to streaming.

While Hammer hasn’t been charged, the allegations against him create a headache for Disney in releasing a feature that was bound to have some awards potential and possibly be a box office sleeper. Branagh’s first Agatha Christie feature adaptation, 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express, overperformed opening to $28.6M stateside and grossing $102.8M domestic, $352.7M WW.

Prior to the LAPD investigation of Hammer, news was leaked on social media about the actor’s disturbing sexual fantasies, resulting in him exiting Lionsgate’s Jennifer Lopez movie Shotgun Wedding, Paramount+’s Making of The Godfather series and UCP’s Gaslit, while also being dropped by his agency WME.

Disney provided no comment on the release date change for Death on the Nile and the status of Hammer with the production.

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