Disney Postpones 'Mulan,' Leaving Hollywood Without Major Releases Until August
By Erich Schwartzel
LOS ANGELES -- Walt Disney Co. said Friday it was again
postponing the release of its "Mulan" reboot, the second such delay
in a week that confirmed that Hollywood's hopes to be back in the
theatrical business by next month won't come to fruition.
"Mulan," which had been scheduled for release on July 24, will
now premiere in theaters on Aug. 21. That is about one week after
the newly scheduled Aug. 12 debut of "Tenet," a science-fiction
thriller that has already been postponed twice from a July
The announcements signaled that the schedule shifts prompted by
the coronavirus have thrown distribution plans into disarray for
the foreseeable future. Several big-budget offerings have been
pushed to 2021, creating an overstuffed calendar of major studio
The problem faced by Disney and AT&T Inc.'s Warner Bros.,
which is releasing "Tenet," is more pressing. Both of the studios'
movies have become weather vanes for the exhibition industry at
large since they are scheduled first, and each new delay indicates
that theater owners and studios don't expect consumers to be
comfortable sitting in a theater as soon as they once did.
Most theaters have been closed since March. Some have started to
reopen, but the three major circuits -- AMC Entertainment Holdings
Inc., Regal Entertainment Group and Cinemark Holdings Inc. -- had
all announced plans to reopen in July, in time for "Mulan" and
"Tenet." It is unlikely they will have cause to open so soon now
that new studio movies won't be coming until August.
Warner Bros. had already begun putting up posters at bus
stations in Los Angeles for "Tenet," which was originally scheduled
for release on July 17 and then July 31. Some of the posters were
printed with the old July 31 release date.
"Tenet" is directed by Christopher Nolan, the director of "The
Dark Knight" and one of the leading defenders of the theatrical
moviegoing experience in Hollywood.
Disney executives in recent days were torn on whether to
postpone "Mulan, " according to people familiar with the matter.
The rise in coronavirus cases in some states, as well as news that
New York officials wouldn't allow theaters to reopen on schedule,
made a July release seem too optimistic.
"Mulan" was originally scheduled to launch in March, and its
red-carpet premiere in Hollywood was among the last public events
held by Disney before the pandemic closed theaters and its theme
parks. The reopening of one of those parks, Disneyland in Anaheim,
Calif., has been postponed from July to an unspecified date.
Write to Erich Schwartzel at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 26, 2020 21:02 ET (01:02 GMT)
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