Aretha movie 'Respect' to now bow on MLK weekend to audiences nationwide

Film will open on Jan. 15 rather than premiering in select markets Christmas day

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

The Aretha Franklin biopic "Respect" is no longer arriving in time for Christmas, and is instead opting for a wide release on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. 

The date change was announced Wednesday by the film's studio, MGM/United Artists Releasing, and reported by The new release date is Jan. 15, 2021. 

Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin in "Respect."

The film, which stars Jennifer Hudson as the Queen of Soul, was originally scheduled to open in select markets on Christmas day, expand on Jan. 8 and open wide on Jan. 15. The move is a show of confidence in the film's commercial appeal, according to deadline. 

The film will still be allowed to qualify for Oscar contention, since films no longer have to open in theaters by the end of the year to be considered eligible. That deadline has been pushed to the end of February due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The release date pits "Respect" against "Mortal Kombat," the Jessica Chastain-starring spy flick "355" and "Peter Rabbit 2."

"Respect" was previously slated to open in August, and was later pushed back to October.