Disney's Mulan remake has been pushed back yet again, which all but erases any hopes of a summer movie season. The live-action blockbuster was originally set to arrive in March but the theater closure forced the studio to push it to July. Now, as public health concerns have swelled once again, the movie has been bumped by several weeks to late August.
Mulan had been set to arrive on July 24. Had it kept that date, it would have been the first new blockbuster to hit theaters once they reopen next month. Instead, it will now arrive on August 21. Though, as we've seen, these dates are quite tentative and it could change again depending on what happens in the coming weeks. Disney's co-chairman and chief creative officer Alan Horn and co-chairman Alan Bergman had this to say in a joint statement.
"While the [situation] 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. 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."
No matter how far the release is pushed back it is not expected that Mulan will skip theaters in favor of a streaming debut, be it through premium VOD or a direct Disney+ release. The remake comes with a steep $200 million budget. Even though movies such as Trolls World Tour have had success on PVOD during the theater shutdown, it would be nearly impossible for Disney to recoup a budget of that size without a significant global box office haul.
Warner Bros. similarly pushed back Christopher Nolan's Tenet recently. The two movies are locked in something of a race to be the first blockbuster to return to the big screen. Tenet, at present, is scheduled for August 12. A pair of smaller movies are still on deck to debut in July in the form of the Russell Crowe thriller Unhinged, as well as The Broken Hearts Gallery, a rom-com produced by Selena Gomez.
AMC, Regal and Cinemark will all be opening their doors in July. The months-long closure has hit the exhibition side of the movie business particularly hard. They will be showing some tried-and-true classics initially to try and get meat in seats. But big releases such as Mulan will be critical to sustained success in reopening. In the meantime, drive-in theaters continue to keep the box office propped up in the U.S. as they have seen something of an impressive resurgence that would have been difficult to predict just a few months ago. We'll be sure to keep you posted as the situation develops. This news was previously reported by Variety.