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Disney Calendar Change: ‘Mulan’ and ‘The French Dispatch’ Dates Pulled, ‘Avatar’ and ‘Star Wars’ Get Pushed

Can Hollywood salvage anything from 2020 for cinema-goers?

Disney Calendar Change: 'Mulan' and 'The French Dispatch' Dates Pulled, 'Avatar' and 'Star Wars' Get Pushed

Talk about the gutting of the movie industry, 2020 is struggling to find any semblance of normalcy as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect Hollywood and the films cinema lovers are looking forward to seeing in a theater near you.

Following the announcement that Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” from Warner Bros. was pulled from the 2020 calendar, Walt Disney Pictures announced its own gutting of the year. Along with its other distributing divisions including Searchlight Pictures and 20th Century Studios, the studio announced a dozen release date changes.

Beginning with the big-budget blockbusters, the live-action “Mulan” from Niki Caro has been taken off its Aug. 19 date with no new date announced. The film was moved from its March date to July due to the Coronavirus outbreak, before being shifted once more to August.

The anticipated sequels to the 2008 hit “Avatar” from James Cameron have been in production for more than a decade. The four upcoming sequels have the new following releases:

  • Avatar 2,” originally slated for Dec. 17, 2021, has been moved to Dec. 16, 2022.
  • Avatar 3,” originally slated for Dec. 22, 2023, has been moved to Dec. 20, 2024.
  • Avatar 4,” originally slated for Dec. 19, 2025, has been moved to Dec. 18, 2026.
  • Avatar 5,” originally slated for Dec. 17, 2027, has been moved to Dec. 22, 2028.

The massacre didn’t stop there as COVID-19 has now affected the next “Star Wars” trilogy as the still-untitled films are also seeing new drop dates:

  • “Untitled Star Wars Film #1,” originally slated for Dec. 16, 2022, as been moved to Dec. 22, 2023
  • “Untitled Star Wars Film #2,” originally slated for Dec. 20, 204, has been moved to Dec. 19, 2025
  • “Untitled Star Wars Film #3,” originally slated for Dec. 18, 2026, has been moved to Dec. 17, 2027
Image from the movie "The French Dispatch"
© 2020 American Empirical Pictures − All right reserved.

The upcoming awards season was also swayed as Searchlight Pictures removed Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” from its Oct. 16, 2020 release, with no new date given. The studio also shifted the upcoming Dev Patel starring picture “The Personal History of David Copperfield” to Aug. 28, 2020. Also pushed was Scott Cooper’s “Antlers” to Feb. 19, 2021.

Ridley Scott’s forthcoming “The Last Duel,” with an all-star cast that includes Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Adam Driver, will now see screens on Oct. 15, 2021, from its original Christmas release.

Another chapter in the Hercule Poirot series was also displaced. The upcoming “Death of the Nile” from 20th Century Studios and starring Kenneth Branagh gets a Oct. 23, 2020 placement while “The Empty Man” from director David Prior comes to cinemas” on Dec. 4, 2020.

In an amusing turn (at least for #FilmTwitter), the long-delayed “The New Mutants” from Josh Boone is still slated for Aug. 28.

Other Disney items that they didn’t touch (as of yet) are the upcoming “Black Widow,” “Free Guy,” “The Kings Man,” and “Soul.” All are still holding on to their current release dates for the moment.

Even “Bill & Ted Face the Music” from United Artists moved to Sept. 1, following the drop of a new trailer earlier today from the virtual San Diego Comic-Con.

As we maneuver to an awards season that will not have a Telluride Film Festival and a decimated film and television industry, it’s still unclear on what an Academy lineup could consider this year. With VOD bringing some much-needed joy into households, it’ll be interesting to see those start to bubble to the top of the contenders’ list. Some of those might include the likes of “The Invisible Man,” “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” or even “The King of Staten Island.”

Share your thoughts about the new release date schedule in the comments below.

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Written by Clayton Davis

Clayton Davis is the esteemed Editor and Owner of Born in Bronx, NY to a Puerto Rican mother and Black father, he’s been criticizing film and television for over a decade. Clayton is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to the awards season, the Critics Choice Awards. He also founded the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association, the first Latino-based critics’ organization in the United States. He’s also an active member of the African-American Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Online, International Press Academy, Black Reel Awards, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. Clayton has been quoted and appeared in various outlets that include The New York Times,, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, FOX 5, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter.


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