The murmurs this past week were true: Deadline Hollywood reports that Disney has decided to bump the release date of its live action remake, Mulan, from July 25 to August 21, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to flare up around the world. It is not unexpected: theaters still haven’t re-opened in China, with no concrete dates for re-openings in New York and Los Angeles, either. Without those major markets, the financials just don’t work.
“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,” Alan Horn, co-chairman and chief creative officer, and Alan Bergman, co-chairman, The Walt Disney Studios, said in a 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.”
As Deadline notes, “The good news here for exhibition is that Disney has a plan to open Mulan in the near future, close to Tenet and not during the holidays or 2021 (or even on Disney+, for that matter).”
As for other films, the Coronavirus Hollywood Shuffle continues. Just two weeks ago, Warner Bros. decided to shift Tenet‘s release date to July 31; yesterday the studio bumped it again, this time to August 14. Nolan’s planned 10th anniversary reissue of Inception now will open on July 31 instead of July 17.
That, in turn, prompted United Artists to move the release date of Bill and Ted Face the Music to August 28, to avoid competing with Tenet‘s new release date. That’s when The New Mutants was scheduled to drop, so we can probably expect that date to change, too. Basically, until we get this pandemic under control, we should all just assume these are flexible rolling release dates and plan accordingly. And as Deadline points out, major cinema chains are likely to delay their planned re-openings as well.
I think Mulan will be worth the wait. When the first teaser dropped last July, I noted that, while I’m not a huge fan of Disney’s live-action remakes, “this is an effective, sumptuously eye-catching teaser.“ The first full trailer dropped in December, and cemented that assessment. “It looks gorgeous, very much in the style of a period war drama, and its rumored $300 million production budget shows in every breathtaking shot,” I wrote.
The final trailer, from the halcyon pre-pandemic days of February, is embedded below. Let’s all suck it up and continue to wear our masks, keep social distancing, and hopefully implement even more testing and contact tracing, so we can all finally go back to the movies before the summer ends, mmmkay?