Hollywood delays summer blockbusters due to Covid-19

Disney postpones Mulan indefinitely and delays Star Wars and Avatar releases

Yifei Liu at the world premiere of Disney’s “Mulan” at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood in March. Photograph: Frederic Brown/AFP

Yifei Liu at the world premiere of Disney’s “Mulan” at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood in March. Photograph: Frederic Brown/AFP

 

Walt Disney 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.

ViacomCBS’s Paramount Pictures also said “Top Gun: Maverick”, the much-awaited sequel to the Tom Cruise-starring “Top Gun”, has been delayed to July 2nd, 2021 from December 23rd, 2020.

“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 August 21st 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 instalments 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.

Set in stone

“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 “Mulan” delay follows Warner Bros decision 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. – Reuters