With COVID-19 case numbers surging around the U.S. and a majority of movie theaters remaining closed amid the ongoing pandemic, Disney has removed its live-action adaptation of Mulan from its slate of upcoming releases. Additionally, all of the currently scheduled Avatar and Star Wars films have been delayed a full year by the studio, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Mulan was originally scheduled to debut in November of 2018, but was later delayed until 2020. The movie's world premiere took place on March 9 in Los Angeles, California, with an official theatrical release date having been slated for March 27. However, that release was canceled in the wake of COVID-19 taking hold in the U.S. and the subsequent closing of businesses and public spaces around the country.
As relayed by The Inquisitr last month, Mulan had been rescheduled for an August 21 release before its "un-dating" was announced on Thursday.
In a statement to THR, Disney refrained from further detail regarding Mulan's status going forward.
"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," said Disney's spokesperson in the statement.
The 1998 Mulan animated film was both a financial and critical success for Disney. Per Box Office Mojo, the movie grossed more than $304,000,000 worldwide during its theatrical run. Meanwhile, the film -- which was based on the Chinese folklore "The Ballad of Mulan" -- has been certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a critics' score of 86 percent.
In addition to taking Mulan off of the schedule, Avatar 2's release was moved from December 17, 2021 to December 16, 2022. As a result, Avatar 3 was rescheduled from 2023 to 2024; Avatar 4 moves from 2025 to 2026; and Avatar 5 has been bumped from 2027 to 2028.
As relayed by THR, Avatar filmmaker James Cameron expressed disappointment in the development on his Instagram account.
"There is no one more disappointed about this delay than me," he wrote.
He further lamented the pandemic's effect on the production of Avatar sequels.
"What most of you likely don't know is that the pandemic is still preventing us from being allowed to recommence most of our virtual production work on stage in Los Angeles. That work is just as critical to the films as the live-action work."
The next -- and currently untitled -- Star Wars picture, which was originally scheduled to hit theaters on December 16, 2022 release, will now drop on December 22, 2023. Subsequent installments were shifted from 2024 to 2025 and from 2026 to 2027.