Disney put several of its buzziest movies this year into an indefinite holding pattern earlier this month in response to the coronavirus pandemic, including the live-action Mulan remake (originally scheduled for March) and Marvel’s Black Widow (May). On Friday, the company announced new dates for those postponed movies, and made greater changes to the rest of its movie release schedule for the many months ahead.
Among those big changes come new dates for those big tentpole films: Mulan will now be released on July 24, 2020, and Black Widow will open on November 6, 2020.
Moving Black Widow to a November release date impacts the rest of the Marvel’s release date, otherwise known as its Phase 4 set of films. Now that Black Widow will come out in November, Marvel’s new superhero movie The Eternals, which was originally scheduled to release that same date, will move to February 12, 2021.
That has created a domino effect for Marvel’s schedule, pushing everything back a few months: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be released on May 7, 2021; Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on November 5, 2021; and Thor: Love and Thunder on February 18, 2022. Black Panther 2 will stick to its May 6, 2022, release date, while the Captain Marvel sequel — which didn’t have an official release date before — is now slotted for July 8, 2022.
Disney has also delayed other films to accommodate all the scheduling shifts. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson-vehicle Jungle Cruise, slated to open July 24 and based on the Disney theme park ride, now won’t see release until the following summer, on July 21, 2021. The French Dispatch from Wes Anderson — distributed by Disney’s newly owned Searchlight Pictures studio — has moved from July 24 to October 16. And most intriguingly, Disney’s Artemis Fowl adaptation will now launch exclusively on Disney+ instead of coming to theaters in August.
These movies were scheduled to open during the spring and summer of 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic spread to the United States and upended the entertainment industry.
For about a decade now, Marvel has maintained a strategy of releasing two-to-three new superhero movies per year. Those movies are often interconnected with one another to tell a bigger, more sweeping that culminates in a team-up adventure like 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Moving a movie back impacts the rest of the movies in the pipeline, as does the current coronavirus pandemic since travel and production is at a standstill.
It’s important to remember that there’s no guarantee that the coronavirus pandemic will be over by the time these new dates roll along.
The United States has achieved the grim statistic of having the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the world, while China, which reported that it has weathered the pandemic since it the virus first broke out late last year, shut down its movie theaters this month — a move that insiders believe indicates that the government is worried about a second wave of cases. These moves are testaments to just how fragile and volatile the current situation is. The same goes for movies, and the rest of the world’s industries.
Here’s Marvel’s Phase 4 scheduled post-coronavirus pandemic release calendar
- Black Widow: November 6, 2020
- The Eternals: February 12, 2021
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: May 7, 2021
- Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness: November 5, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder: February 28, 2022
- Black Panther 2: May 8, 2022
- Captain Marvel 2: July 8, 2022