In news only slightly less surprising than the fact Major League Baseball is probably going to shut down entirely after three games, Disney (and other studios) have delayed most of their upcoming movies to 2021 due to the coronavirus:
Disney has taken Mulan off the theatrical release calendar amid the ongoing pandemic and a surge in COVID-19 cases across the U.S.
The adventure epic, directed by Niki Caro, had been set to hit theaters Aug. 21. Presently, however, the vast majority of cinemas in the U.S. remain closed. Mulan had previously been scheduled to open in late March and then was pushed to July 24.
The Mulan news is a blow for theater owners, who were counting on playing both that film and Christopher Nolan's Tenet upon reopening. Earlier this week, Warner Bros. took Tenet off its Aug. 12 release date and said the film will get a staggered release globally, versus waiting for all markets to reopen.
With Covid cases spiking and even recalcitrant Texas governors urging people to wear masks and avoid large gatherings, the reopening of movie theaters seems further away than ever. The news about Mulan and Tenet, while unwelcome, is hardly a shock.
Disney's decision to release Hamilton early on streaming aside, you're not likely to see many big movies on the small screen (with one exception noted below). So get used to contenting yourself with low(er)-budget indie fare and Schitt's Creek rewatches while contemplating the list of movies you won't be seeing until 2021.
Avatar 2 - December 16, 2022 (was December 18, 2020)
Avatar 3 - December 20, 2024 (was December 17, 2021)
Avatar 4 - December 18, 2026 (was December 20, 2024)
Avatar 5 - December 22, 2028 (was December 19, 2025)
I know: looks like a typo, right? According to director James Cameron, virus delays to post-production are responsible for the push back, not the reality that these movies are absolute dogshit on a small screen. The original Avatar is the second highest-grossing movie of all time. Coincidentally, it's also the highest grossing one I can't remember anything about.
2028? I can barely imagine what the world's going to look like in five days, much less eight years. '28 might as well be when the Morlocks and Eloi show up.
A Quiet Place Part II - April 23, 2021 (was March 20/September 4, 2020)
AQP2 was one of the first casualties of the pandemic and was also, along with Mulan and Tenet, one of the last holdouts for a 2020 release. Alas, as Belloq once said, it was not to be, cherie.
Bill & Ted Face The Music - September 1, 2020 in select theaters and On Demand (was August 21)
This is going to be an interesting experiment. So far, most studios are resisting relieving our grim, homebound lives with even the barest glimmer of joy by releasing some of their titles straight to on-demand. There's a bunch of movie insider BS surrounding this, for example: Universal deciding to release Trolls World Tour to the rental market early, causing AMC to say they'd refuse to screen their movies in the future.
BATFTM is a good test case, since it's relatively small budget ($25M) means United Artists could certainly see a profit through a largely On-Demand release. For the Avatar sequels, not so much.
Death On the Nile - October 23, 2020 (was December 20, 2019/October 9, 2020)
20th Century probably hosed themselves by pushing back the original 2019 release date. Punting it two weeks later in October now is likely just to gain some breathing room before they pull the trigger and kick it all the way to '21.
Jackass 4 - September 3, 2021 (was March/July, 2021)
With an estimated $15M budget, this would seem another good candidate for simultaneous VOD release. Then again, the first-person shot of Bam Margera urinating on someone really loses something if you can't enjoy it on the big screen. Or maybe the producers are waiting to see if Steve-O can get coronavirus by getting dunked in a Port-a-John.
Mulan - TBD (was March 27/July 24/August 21, 2020)
Maybe Disney will take a huge loss on this by releasing it straight to its streaming network, ignoring the massive overseas market it was counting on to make this an even bigger blockbuster.
Yeah, and maybe I'm a Chinese jet pilot.
New Mutants - August 28, 2020 (was ... well, see below)
These were the previous planned release dates:
April 13, 2018
Feb. 22, 2019
Aug. 2, 2019
April 3, 2020
Disney's acquisition of Fox, reshoots, and finally Covid-19 were responsible for the previous delays, yet Disney is insisting a theater release for the movie everyone was ready to throw dirt on over a year ago is still happening in exactly a month. Perversely, I really want to see this.
Untitled third Marvel/Sony Spider-Man movie - December 17, 2021 (was November 5, 2021)
This was supposed to shoot next summer, allowing for several months of post-production. December 2021 feels like a hedge against the possibility of their being a vaccine by mid-2021.
Tenet - TBD 2020(?) (was July 17/July 31/August 12, 2020)
There was decent buzz around this movie even before the pandemic; it's Christopher Nolan, after all. But the director's occasionally maddening insistence on pushing this into theaters definitely raised its profile among the general public.
Nolan still won't take a 2020 release entirely off the table. Read the room, brah.
The French Dispatch - TBD (was July 24, 2020)
I am endlessly disappointed every time I realize this isn't actually a feature-length version of Dom DeLuise's musical segment from Blazing Saddles. Wes Anderson hasn't made a movie I've felt compelled to rewatch since Rushmore.
The Last Duel - October 15, 2021 (was December, 2020)
The final round of filming was supposed to have taken place in Ireland at the end of March, but was obviously put on hold. In one of the more curious pandemic side narratives, Matt Damon spent three months holed up with his family in the Dublin suburb of Dalkey as a result of the quarantine.
The Personal History of David Copperfield - August 18, 2020 (was May 8/August 14, 2020)
Without another announcement about delays, I wouldn't be surprised to see this go to the small screen. And I'm not saying that because I desperately want to see Armando (Veep, The Death of Stalin) Iannucci's take on the Charles Dickens classic.
Not entirely, anyway.
The Tiger’s Apprentice - February 10, 2023 (was February 11, 2022)
Sucks we have to wait until 2023 to see Henry Golding bounce back from a Guy Ritchie movie. That is, assuming his star turn in the upcoming Snake Eyes (yes, *that* Snake Eyes) doesn't preempt it.
Top Gun: Maverick - July 2, 2021 (was December 23, 2020)
Turns out even an Operating Thetan Level 7 is no match for the coronavirus.
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Y'all have waited 26 years for this, you can wait a few more months.
Untitled Star Wars Movie #1 - December 22, 2023
Untitled Star Wars Movie #2 - December 19, 2025
Untitled Star Wars Movie #3 - December 17, 2027
Having just attempted a rewatch of The Rise of Skywalker, maybe pumping the brakes on a franchise that's (charitably) batting around .500 isn't the worst idea.