At this point, we should basically be working under the assumption that major new releases won’t be opening in movie theaters anytime soon. A big film just doesn’t have the ability to reach audiences in cinemas, due to COVID-19. The pandemic has claimed some potential new flicks today, as Disney has made a number of moves in regard to its 2020 slate, as well as beyond. Of major note, The French Dispatch and Mulan, two of the year’s bigger titles for the studio, are now off of their release schedule (for now), and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Read on for more…
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney is making a number of moves to their slate, both for Disney titles proper as well as their Searchlight movies. Chief among them are The French Dispatch and Mulan, but the Avatar sequels have now been pushed back a year. Additionally, a film potentially that could have been a 2020 player in Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel is moving full on into 2021. Clearly, Disney is getting out of the way of the Coronavirus in 2020 as best they can. Will some of their lot end up on Disney+ when all is said and done? Time will tell, but that’s a definite possibility.
Here’s what THR had to say in their story:
Disney has taken Mulan off the theatrical release calendar amid the ongoing pandemic and a surge in COVID-19 cases across the U.S.
The adventure epic, directed by Niki Caro, had been set to hit theaters on Aug. 21. Presently, however, the vast majority of cinemas in the U.S. remain closed. Mulan had previously been scheduled to open in late March and then was pushed to July 24.
Disney didn’t provide further comment regarding Mulan’s fate beyond saying that the live-action adventure epic was being undated. While the company has been a champion of the theatrical experience, it is also investing heavily in its new streaming service, Disney+.
“Over the last few months, it’s become clear that nothing can be set in stone when it comes to how we release films during this global health crisis, and today that means pausing our release plans for Mulan as we assess how we can most effectively bring this film to audiences around the world,” a Disney spokesperson said in a statement.
The Mulan news is a blow for theater owners, who were counting on playing both that film and Christopher Nolan’s Tenet upon reopening. Earlier this week, Warner Bros. took Tenet off its Aug. 12 release date and said the film will get a staggered release globally, versus waiting for all markets to reopen.
Mulan was among numerous changes made to Disney’s release calendar. All currently scheduled Avatar and Star Wars films are being delayed by a year. Avatar 2 moves from Dec. 17, 2021, to Dec. 16, 2022; Avatar 3 moves from Dec. 22, 2023, to Dec. 20, 2024; Avatar 4 from Dec. 19, 2025, to Dec. 18, 2026; and Avatar 5 from Dec. 17, 2027, to Dec. 22, 2028.
The reshuffling underscores the challenges facing Hollywood studios amid ongoing theater closures and production delays.
“There is no one more disappointed about this delay than me,” Avatar filmmaker James Cameron said in an Instagram post. “What most of you likely don’t know is that the pandemic is still preventing us from being allowed to recommence most of our virtual production work on stage in Los Angeles. That work is just as critical to the films as the live-action work.”
Hours after the announcement, Sony scooped up Avatar 2’s Dec. 17 date for its next Spider-Man film, which had been set for Nov. 5, 2021.
Disney also revealed that the next untitled Star Wars pic, previously dated for Dec. 16, 2022, flies to Dec. 22, 2023, while the film after that moves from Dec. 20, 2024. to Dec. 19, 2025. and a third untitled film from Dec. 18, 2026. to Dec. 17, 2027.
Other notable changes to Disney’s calendar are below:
The Personal History of David Copperfield (Searchlight) moves two weeks to Aug. 28, 2020.
Death on the Nile (20th Century) shifts two weeks to Oct. 23, 2020.
The Empty Man (20th Century) moves to Dec. 4, 2020.
The French Dispatch (Searchlight), previously dated Oct. 16, 2020, is now unset.
Antlers (Searchlight) is now dated Feb. 19, 2021.
Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel (20th Cenury) will now open wide on Oct. 15, 2021. It was originally scheduled for limited release on Christmas Day 2020 prior to a January 2021 expansion.
An untitled Disney live-action film is now scheduled for Dec. 17, 2021, a date previously held by Avatar 2.
Stay tuned for more when we have it.