Coronavirus Outbreak: Disney delays release of Avatar 2, Star Wars, postpones Mulan indefinitely
The Mulan delay follows Warner Bros' decision to postpone the August release of Tenet due to the coronavirus outbreak
Walt Disney Co on Thursday postponed the debut of its movie Mulan indefinitely, dealing a new blow to theatre operators that were counting on the live-action epic to help attract audiences during a pandemic.
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Mulan was scheduled to reach theatres in March but its release has been postponed several times as many cinemas remain closed. The film had most recently been set to debut on 21 August and theatre operators had hoped it would help spark a late-summer rebound for movie-going.
Disney also said it had delayed the next film installments from two of its biggest franchises, Avatar and Star Wars, by one year as the novel coronavirus has disrupted production.
The Avatar sequel is now set to debut in theatres in December 2022, and the next Star Wars movie in December 2023.
“It’s become clear that nothing can be set in stone when it comes to how we release films during this global health crisis,” a Disney representative said. “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.”
The sequel to Spider-Man: Far From Home has been pushed to 17 December, 2021 from its earlier scheduled release of 5 November 2021.
Sony announced the shuffle in the release after a shakeup of Disney’s film slate.
The Far From Home sequel will take the spot formerly held by Avatar 2.
The third movie in Tom Holland’s Spider-Man franchise was originally supposed to be released on 16 July, 2021, but Sony had previously delayed it to 5 November, 2021, back in April.
Tom Cruise’s much anticipated sequel to Top Gun and John Krasinski-directed A Quiet Place Two have also been delayed by a year.
Both movies were part of a release date shakeup from Paramount on Thursday.
A Quiet Place Part 2, starring John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, will release in theaters on 23 April, 2021, instead of 6 September, 2020 while Top Gun: Maverick, a sequel to 1986 classic, is now slated for 2 July, 2021 instead of its original date of 3 December, 2020.
“We truly believe that there is no movie-viewing experience like the one enjoyed in theatres,” Variety reported quoting Paramount’s president of domestic distribution Chris Aronson, and president of international theatrical distribution Mark Viane.
“We are committed to the theatrical experience and our exhibition partners, and want to stress that we are confident that, when the time comes, audiences everywhere will once again enjoy the singular joy of seeing Paramount films on the big screen.”
The studio has also set Sonic the Hedgehog 2, a follow-up to this year’s box office smash, to open on 8 April, 2022.
A Quiet Place 2, which marks John Krasinski’s return to the director’s chair after the critical and commercial success of the first part of the horror franchise 2018, had begun its promotions when the studio decided to pull it from theatres in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The release was then shifted to 4 September but as theatres remain closed, return to moviegoing will take more time.
Earlier, Warner Bros' decided to postpone the August release of Christopher Nolan thriller Tenet. The two films were seen as theatres’ best chance to salvage part of the lucrative summer season.
The AMC and Cineworld movie theatre chains on Thursday pushed back the reopening date for their US theatres to at least mid-August from the end of July.
The Avatar delay also removes one of next year’s biggest movies.
The follow-up to James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster that is the second highest-grossing film of all time, Avatar 2 had faced numerous delays even before the coronavirus outbreak. At one time it had been expected to reach theatres in 2014.
Disney has not released details on the next Star Wars film.
(With inputs from agencies)
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