Mulan and Black Widow have landed July and November release dates after being delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic and unprecedented cinema closures, while franchise hopeful Jungle Cruise is being pushed back a year to summer 2021.
Those were just a few of the highlights announced Friday as Disney revealed sweeping changes to its 2020 and 2021 release calendars — including the decision to debut May title Artemis Fowl directly on Disney+, a move that could irk some cinema owners. At the same time, Hollywood’s leading film studio is opting to follow the traditional theatrical course for the vast majority of its movies.
Mulan and Black Widow, originally set for late March and early May, respectively, were among the first Hollywood tentpoles pulled from the calendar last month as virtually all cinemas closed in the U.S., as well as in much of the rest of the world.
No one is yet sure how long the closures will last but expect the blackout to continue well into the prized summer season. In one sign of optimism, Disney has decided to open Mulan on July 24. The movie’s new home used to belong to Jungle Cruise, which is being pushed back a full year to July 30, 2021.
That sort of domino effect is impacting every major Hollywood studio and is reshaping the overall release calendar through 2021.
It was especially apparent as Disney announced a number of new dates and resulting delays for Marvel superhero pics.
Black Widow‘s new home of Nov. 6 used to belong to Eternals, which now is set to go out Feb. 12, 2021, a date previously inhabited by Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Rings. The latter is moving to May 7, 2021, displacing Doctor Strange 2, now set for Nov. 5, 2021. That prompted Thor: Love and Thunder to relocate to Feb. 18, 2022. Black Panther 2‘s May 6, 2022, date is unchanged, while Captain Marvel 2 is moving up two weeks to July 8, 2022.
Among other changes within the Disney film empire, 20th Century’s Ryan Reynolds-led Free Guy event pic is being pushed from July 3 to Dec. 11 of this year. Moving the comedy event pic into December, however, isn’t changing the plans to open Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story on Dec. 18 and Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel on Dec. 25. The latter two are also from the 20th Century label, as is Bob’s Burgers, which is moving from July 17 to April 9, 2021.
Searchlight and Wes Anderson’s specialty offering The French Dispatch is vacating its July 24 release date and will now stride into theaters on Oct. 16, closer to awards season.
Within Disney’s live-action studio — home of Mulan — the as-yet untitled Indiana Jones film is being pushed back a year, from July 9, 2021, to July 29, 2022.
Some delayed titles remain undated, including The Personal History of David Copperfield, Antlers, Woman in the Window and The New Mutants. New dates are expected to be announced soon.
Disney insiders stressed that because of the ongoing uncertainty, all release dates could be shifted if needed.