Walt Disney canceled the August theatrical release of the widely anticipated film “Mulan” and delayed future “Star Wars” and “Avatar” movies by one year, the latest sign that the Covid-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc in Hollywood.
This was the third time the live-action remake of the animated hit “Mulan” was postponed, and this time no new date was set. Theaters had hoped the film would help bring audiences, particularly families, back to cinemas. But earlier Thursday, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., the largest U.S. theater owner, postponed its reopening until mid-to-late August. The virus has also shut down film and TV production.
“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,” Burbank, California-based Disney said Thursday in a statement. “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 action delays some of Disney’s biggest sequels. The next “Avatar” was scheduled for December 2021, with three more movies planned after that. The next “Star Wars” film, the first of three, was slated for December 2022.
Nine other films including “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” were either delayed or completely taken off the company’s schedule.
Separately, Solstice Studios will likely delay the Russell Crowe thriller “Unhinged” until August. Earlier this week, AT&T Inc.’s Warner Bros. said it was postponing the Christopher Nolan-directed film “Tenet,” as the studio considers options that could include releasing the picture around the world on different dates.