Disney has postponed the theatrical release of Mulan amid growing concerns of the Coronavirus. The live-action remake starring Liu Yefei and directed by Niki Caro was supposed to debut on March 27th in North American theaters. Mulan’s international release was delayed in some parts of the world, including China, due to the Coronavirus.
Disney has also delayed the releases of upcoming films The New Mutants and Antlers from its slate. All three movies have been delayed indefinitely as the studio looks for new release dates.
The New Mutants, the superhero adventure film from Fox, was scheduled to be released on April 3rd. Antlers, the sci-fi horror film produced by Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro, was expected to be released on April 17th via Searchlight.
For now, Disney’s Black Widow is still expected to hit theaters on May 1st.
Since so many big movies are vacating their release dates, Universal’s Trolls World Tour is the only film from a major Hollywood studio that is still opening in May. But that could change if Coronavirus concerns force movie theaters to close.
Mulan is one of many high-profile films to shift its theatrical debut as Hollywood grapples with the effects of the Coronavirus that is rapidly spreading across the globe. On Thursday, Universal pushed Fast 9 back a year, while Paramount indefinitely shelved A Quiet Place 2. Earlier this month, Daniel Craig’s last James Bond film No Time to Die was delayed from April until November.
Disney spent $200 million to produce Mulan, a large sum of money that doesn’t include marketing fees. Given how familiar the 1998 animated version of Mulan is familiar with audiences around the world, the new version was made to resonate with moviegoers who live for the nostalgia of classic Disney films. But since theaters are still closed in China, the studio was worried about recouping its budget.
The New Mutants, which stars Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Charlie Heaton also carry a hefty price tag. This is the film’s fifth big-screen delay since it was originally intended to be released in 2018.
What matters most now is the safety of theatergoers as the country deals with the effects of the Coronavirus. As of now in New York, crowds are not allowed to exceed more than 500 people except for mass transit. Broadway shows have been postponed and television tapings have been filmed without a live audience. Even sports seasons have been put on hold until the virus is resolved.
Given the number of would-be blockbusters that have already been pulled from theaters, it seems inevitable that North American movie theater chains will shutter. But for now, cineplexes in the United States and Canada remain open. Theaters have seen mass closures in impacted areas like China, South Korea, and Italy, where the Coronavirus has taken the countries by storm.