Disney have removed Mulan from the release schedule, leaving the film postponed indefinitely. It, along with other major tentpoles that had been scheduled to release in the spring, had to be pushed back into the summer due to coronavirus. But the pandemic’s continued destructive impact has meant even those delays were insufficient.
Here’s what a Disney spokesperson told Variety about the latest hold up:
“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.”
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Hollywood’s biggest studios pushed most of their biggest movies into the autumn and beyond – major money-spinners like Black Widow, No Time to Die, F9 – but they also left a smattering of titles, including Tenet and the aforementioned Mulan, parked in the summer with the hope that the pandemic would have sufficiently eased to allow for a managed reopening. That has not proven to be the case, though.
Quite frankly, the pandemic has been a nightmare for the film industry. Even when an epidemic gets brought under control in one country (or market), it might be getting worse in another. And even within those countries that have brought their nationwide epidemics under control, local outbreaks are triggering local lockdowns. It’s impossible to see how any major blockbuster movie, that demands the utmost market stability to deliver a return, can be released without the development of an effective coronavirus treatment and/or vaccine.
Until then, Mulan will remain locked in the vaults, a guaranteed windfall that’s now burning a very expensive hole in some deep pockets. Pre-COVID economics in a post-COVID world. If there’s a ray of sunshine to be found (and there usually is), it’s that when a successful vaccine is mass-produced – and there’s no reason to think it won’t be within the next year – the immensity of these problems will pass. Consumer confidence may not recover completely, and the damage the pandemic will have done will be enormous. But normality won’t be gone forever. Just damn well feels like it is.