Disney Delays Avatar and Star Wars Movies' Release Dates, Postpones Mulan's Indefinitely

Mulan was previously scheduled to be released in August after several delays

disney delays
Photo: Jasin Boland/© 2019 Disney; Jonathan Olley/© 2019 Lucasfilm Ltd.; 20th Century Studios

Disney is making some major changes in its lineup of anticipated films.

The company announced on Thursday that it'll be delaying some of its major releases — including the upcoming movies in the Avatar and Star Wars franchises — amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Avatar sequel has been pushed back a year from its original release date, now slated to open in theaters on Dec. 16, 2022.

The projected third, fourth and fifth installments of the sci-fi saga are now looking at release dates in December of 2024, 2026 and 2028 respectively, according to CNBC.

Director James Cameron released a lengthy statement following news of the postponement, saying, "As many of you are aware, due to COVID-19, we were forced into an unexpected lengthy delay in starting the live action filming we are currently doing in New Zealand. What most of you likely do not know is that the pandemic is still preventing us from being allowed to recommence most of our virtual production work on stages in Los Angeles. That work is just as critical as the live action work."

Cameron, 65, said that the cast and crew were initially on schedule with production, but the ongoing pandemic made it "no longer possible" for them to meet the original 2021 release date.

"There is no one more disappointed about this delay than me. But I am buoyed by the incredible performances of our cast and extraordinary work that Weta digital is doing bringing the world of Pandora and the character of the film to life," Cameron said. "Most of all, I am grateful to you, our fans, for your support over the years and I promise that what we bring to cinemas will deliver."

As for the next installments in the Star Wars franchise, CNBC reported that the latest film is slated to arrive on Dec. 22, 2023.

Another untitled Star Wars project has been moved to be released on Dec. 19, 2025, while a third is scheduled for a Dec. 17, 2027 release date.

One major anticipated release that has been postponed indefinitely is Mulan, the live-action adaptation of the Disney's 1998 animated film of the same name. Currently, no new release date has been set for the blockbuster.

“Over the last few months, it’s become clear that nothing can be set in stone when it comes to how we release films during this global health crisis, and today that means pausing our release plans for ‘Mulan’ as we assess how we can most effectively bring this film to audiences around the world,” a Walt Disney Studios spokesperson tells PEOPLE.

Mulan. Disney Enterprises

Disney's big slate change comes just days after Warner Bros. announced that it would be delaying the theatrical release of Tenet, Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated thriller that many believe would bring audiences back to the U.S. box office when theaters reopen.

The film, starring Robert Pattinson and John David Washington, was originally scheduled for release on July 17, but was pushed back twice to dates in August. As of now, Warner Bros. told Variety in a statement the film will be pushed back indefinitely.

“We will share a new 2020 release date imminent for Tenet, Christopher Nolan’s wholly original and mind-blowing feature,” Warner Bros. chairman Toby Emmerich said in a statement obtained by the outlet. “Our goals throughout this process have been to ensure the highest odds of success for our films while also being ready to support our theater partners with new content as soon as they could safely reopen.”

“We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from exhibitors and remain steadfast in our commitment to the theatrical experience around the world,” he added. “Unfortunately, the pandemic continues to proliferate, causing us to reevaluate our release dates.”

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