Walt Disney has delayed and postponed the release of three major films, dealing another blow to struggling cinema operators amid the pandemic.
The new Avatar and Star Wars movies have been delayed for a year, while Mulan has been taken off the schedules altogether.
Mulan, already delayed due to movie theater closures, was due out in late August.
An increase in virus cases in the United States and the overall impact on film production has forced the change.
One had hoped that Mulan could spark a late summer rebound in cinema. The Avatar sequel is now set to debut in theaters in December 2022, and the upcoming Star Wars movie in December 2023.
“It has become clear that nothing can be set in stone when it comes to the way we release films during this global health crisis,” said a spokesperson for Disney. “Today that means putting our release plans on hold for Mulan as we assess how we can most effectively present this film to audiences around the world. ”
On Thursday, the cinema chains AMC and Cineworld postponed the date of reopening of their American outlets until at least mid-August, from the end of July.
Mulan’s delay follows Warner Bros. decision to postpone the August release of Christopher Nolan’s thriller Tenet. Theater owners were hoping the two films would save some of the lucrative summer season.
Avatar 2 would have been one of the biggest movies of the next year. It follows on from James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster, which is the second highest grossing film of all time.
Another delayed Disney film is Sir Ridley Scott’s landmark thriller The Last Duel, which stars Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. This went from December of this year to October 2021.
While cinemas in England have been allowed to reopen from July 4 – as long as social distancing guidelines have been followed – the situation in North America is much more uncertain.
New York and Los Angeles, the two largest markets in the United States, have no concrete plans to reopen theaters.