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Disney Delays Major Films, Including 'Mulan,' 'Avatar' And 'Star Wars'

Disney delays 'Mulan' premiere indefinitely, pushes release of 'Avatar,' 'Star Wars'
Disney Enterprises, Inc

Disney is once again pushing back the release of Mulan, and pausing production on other major film projects

As the world continues to try to figure out how to safely film movies and TV during the coronavirus pandemic, crowded movie theaters on the nights of big, blockbuster premieres are starting to feel like a distant memories. With the best science saying that the virus spreads easily in cramped, indoor spaces, movie theaters in most U.S. cities and states are still shuttered indefinitely. And without theatergoers to bring the ticket sales that justify production expenses for blockbuster films, Disney just announced that it’s once again delaying releases of some of its major upcoming projects, including the live-action remake of Mulan.

Mulan was originally scheduled for a global premiere on March 27, which was pushed back as the pandemic was reaching emergency levels all over the world at the time. It was rescheduled to July 24, and then August 21. And now, Disney has announced that it’s pressing pause on the release indefinitely, waiting until things are less uncertain to announce a new potential premiere date.

“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 studios spokesperson said in a statement to the Today show.

This comes just one day after Disney announced on Thursday that the pandemic has caused the company to make “additional adjustments to our longer-term slate plans,” including pushing back the planned released for an Avatar sequel from this year to next year, and delaying the release of its new Star Wars installment from 2021 to 2022.

Disney isn’t the only major studio that’s having to make these kinds of decisions during the pandemic. Earlier this week, Warner Bros. removed its upcoming Christopher Nolan thriller Tenet from its August release calendar. That movie was planned for an August 12 premiere, after two previous delays. Warner Bros. hasn’t announced a new planned release date, and it will likely depend on when theaters are able to open.

That remains up in the air, too. In countries that have controlled their coronavirus pandemics, movie theaters have been reopened, and then shut back down after new cases were linked to them. Major theater chain AMC has announced dates to reopen its U.S. theaters, but keeps pushing the date back. Currently, the chain says it will reopen theaters in mid- to late-August.