Paramount Pulls Clifford the Big Red Dog from September Release as Delta Variant Spreads
Clifford the Big Red Dog will no longer hit theaters in September.
Paramount announced Friday that it is pulling the family-friendly film from its theatrical release as coronavirus cases soar across the country. A new release date has yet to be revealed.
The live-action adaptation, based on Norman Bridwell's beloved children's book series, was originally scheduled to open nationwide on Friday, Sept. 17.
The film studio cited rising Delta variant cases as the reason for the postponement amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, per Deadline.
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Starring Darby Camp as Emily Elizabeth and Jack Whitehall as her uncle Casey, the film tells the tale of the special bond between a girl and an unusually large dog she received as a gift from an animal rescuer (John Cleese) as a puppy.
Coronavirus numbers are skyrocketing as the Delta variant consumes the country. It is now the dominant strain in the U.S. and accounts for more than 80% of new cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A recent CDC memo leaked Thursday suggested the variant is worse than initially feared, according to CNN. Delta is believed to be as contagious as chicken pox and can be anywhere from 60% to more than 200% more transmittable than the original strain.
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Experts say vaccine hesitancy has helped drive the significant increase in COVID-19 cases in all 50 states. As of Saturday, the CDC reports only 49.5% of the U.S. populace (164.2 million) are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. 57.4% (190.5 million) have received at least one dose.
Millions of individuals, including children ages 11 and under, remain ineligible to receive one of the three vaccines under emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Paramount is among several companies taking increased precautions with coronavirus cases back on the rise. Some companies like Twitter and Apple have altered their return-to-office plans, while businesses like Google and Facebook will require employees to be vaccinated.
Broadway will also require all audiences to show their COVID-19 vaccination card at shows in addition to wearing a mask. Performers, backstage crew, and staffers in all 41 theaters in New York City must be vaccinated as well.