Another day, another release date domino effect in the face of growing Coronavirus concerns, spiking positive COVID-19 results and a pandemic that never really went away and is biting the entire country in the ass (thanks, jackasses). One of those industries effected, obviously is the theatrical industrial complex and with COVID on the rise again, and L.A. theaters not given the go-ahead to reopen yet, all the studios are getting gun shy again—no one really wants to be the first major film in release in case there is yet another coronavirus surge and their film is blamed. So, in the face of Warner Bros. pushing Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” once again from July to August 12, other studios are following suit. The first up is Disney’s “Mulan.”
Today, the mouse house announced that “Mulan,” directed by Niki Caro, is shifting its release dates, moving July 25 to August 21, the weekend after the five-day August 12-16 opening for “Tenet.”
“While the pandemic has changed our release plans for ‘Mulan ‘and we will continue to be flexible as conditions require, it has not changed our belief in the power of this film and its message of hope and perseverance,” said Alan Horn, co-chairman and chief creative officer, and Alan Bergman, co-chairman, The Walt Disney Studios, in a joint statement. “Director Niki Caro and our cast and crew have created a beautiful, epic, and moving film that is everything the cinematic experience should be, and that’s where we believe it belongs – on the world stage and the big screen for audiences around the globe to enjoy together.”
Disney spent $200 million to make “Mulan” and under optimal conditions, it’s a movie that could crack $1 billion worldwide. While those kinds of numbers seem out of reach in the age of COVID, you best believe Disney won’t be releasing the film unless their projections show a good return.
Also moving in the face of “Tenet,” and “Mulan” and the seismic echoes their shifts create, Orion’s “Bill & Ted Face the Music” is moving to August 28, the week after “Mulan. Given theaters are likely going to have to enforce audience restrictions between 30% to 50% maximum capacity, that could easily mean “New Mutants,” also currently scheduled for August 28 could easily move again. Each domino that falls will just force another to fall and we could see this release date push back continue throughout the summer and into the fall as the pandemic shows no real evidence of slowing down.
Lastly, Solstice Studios’ first theatrical release “Unhinged,” starring Russell Crowe and meant to be one of the first major movies to come back to theaters after reopening, has now moved back to the July 31 spot vacated by “Tenet.”