NEW YORK — The Walt Disney Co. on Friday overhauled its release schedule by moving the dates of half a dozen Marvel movies, announcing a new one for the live-action adaption of “Mulan” and pushing the fifth “Indiana Jones” film another year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Black Widow,” the Marvel entry starring Scarlett Johansson, had been set to kick off the summer movie season. Instead, Disney said it will now open Nov. 6. Such delays have unique ramifications for Marvel movies because of their interconnection. With “Black Widow” on the move, that meant a domino effect, pushing all upcoming Marvel releases back about three months.
“Black Widow” took the release date of “The Eternals,” which now moves to February 21 next year. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” departs that February date for May 7, 2021. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” shifts from May next year to Nov. 5, 2021. And “Thor: Love and Thunder” is pushed three months, to Feb. 18, 2022.
Disney isn’t abandoning the summer completely. “Mulan,” which been scheduled for March and already had its red carpet premiere, will now open July 24. That release date, of course, is subject to movie theatres being reopened by then and the pandemic subsiding.
While Disney shifted nearly all of its big-budget movies, it’s going to send one to its streaming service. The Kenneth Branagh-directed science fiction adventure adaptation “Artemis Foul” will go to Disney Plus instead of opening in theatres. The movie had originally been slate for release last August but had been rescheduled for May of this year. With the exception of Universal’s “Trolls World Tour,” the major studios have chosen to delay their top releases rather than push them to digital release and sacrifice box-office revenue.
The fifth “Indiana Jones” movie, which Steven Spielberg last month departed as director with James Mangold replacing him, is being delayed a year to July 2022. Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” is also delayed from July to Oct. 16.
On Thursday, t he Walt Disney Co. announced they will start furloughing some workers in two weeks at its theme parks resorts in Florida and California.
JAKE COYLE – THE ASSOCIATED PRESS