Once again, we find Disney following Warner Bros. lead. After adopting a “No, you go first” strategy surrounding the release of Mulan, repeatedly rescheduling the film to have it open up after Christopher Nolan’s Tenet was supposed to signal the return of blockbuster season to movie theaters, Disney has now removed Mulan from the release schedule entirely. That move comes after Tenet was dropped from Warner Bros. release schedule last week, with the studio saying that a new release date would be coming “imminently.” To date, they haven’t announced one.
With this move, and a series of other push-backs, it seems Disney is finally ready to admit that the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t going anywhere, and that the summer 2020 movie season can’t be salvaged. In addition to dropping Mulan from the release schedule entirely, Disney also took the opportunity to announce that the Avatar sequels and upcoming Star Wars films would all be pushed back by a year. Other delayed films include Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch at Fox Searchlight, which has likewise been taken off the release schedule entirely. Meanwhile, Fox’s The Empty Man moves from Aug. 7 to Dec. 4, 2020, while Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel moves all the way from Dec. 2020 to Oct. 2021.
“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,” said Disney in its statement.
James Cameron, meanwhile, released a statement on the latest delay to his Avatar sequels, saying that the film’s post-production green screen work would be delayed too much to get the movie out even by its Dec. 2021 scheduled release date.
“That work is just as critical to the films as the live action work,” Cameron said. “There is no one more disappointed about this delay than me.”
Oddly, though, there are a few films whose release dates haven’t been touched. The New Mutants, that poster child for delayed releases, is somehow still on the docket for Aug. 28, 2020 right now. The MCU and Pixar, likewise, are holding onto their current release dates for now, with Black Widow scheduled for Nov. 6, 2020 and Pixar’s Soul scheduled for Nov. 20.
At this point, though, we’ll believe it when we see it.