Disney Bumps ‘Avatar’ Sequel to 2021, Sets Dates on Three Unnamed ‘Star Wars’ Movies
The Walt Disney Studio revealed an aggressive slate of additions and changes to its feature film release schedule today that includes dates for three untitled ‘Star Wars’ movies as well as four Avatar sequels, the first of which is getting pushed a full year.
Highlighting once again the expansive power of Disney’s brand base that now includes Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars IP in addition to Avatar, X-Men and Blue Sky Studio properties added following its successful Fox purchase, the announcement comes on the heels of the studio’s latest MCU hit, Avengers: Endgame, which in only 11 days of release has reached $2 billion at the box office faster than any film in history.
The studios’ updated calendar sets release dates for major franchises Avatar and Star Wars. With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker bringing the original Skywalker Saga to its conclusion, three new as-yet-untitled Star Wars films will release on the pre-Christmas weekend every other year beginning in 2022 — December 16, 2022, December 20, 2024 and December 18, 2026. Four forthcoming Avatar films will release on the pre-Christmas weekend every other year beginning with in 2021 – the first, originally scheduled to debut December 18, 2020, has been pushed to December 17, 2021. Disney has previously announced that two new Star Wars series, separate from the Skywalker saga, were being developed by Rian Johnson and Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
In the holiday corridor for 2020, Fox’s West Side Story adaptation, directed by Steven Spielberg, will debut Dec. 18 in the pre-Christmas slot, with Disney’s Cruella opening Wednesday, Dec. 23, for the long holiday weekend.
Their 2019 summer slate includes Disney’s Aladdin on May 24, Fox’s Dark Phoenix on June 7, Pixar’s Toy Story 4 on June 21, Fox’s Stuber on July 12, and Disney’s The Lion King on July 19. Fox 2000’s The Art of Racing in the Rain moves up to Aug. 9, and Fox Searchlight’s Ready or Not will release on Aug. 23, while three films move to later dates: Ad Astra (9/20/19), The New Mutants (4/3/20), and Artemis Fowl (5/29/20).
The Studios’ 2019 slate rounds out with Fox’s The Woman in the Window on Oct. 4 and Ford V. Ferrari on Nov. 15, Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil on Oct. 18 and Disney Animation’s Frozen 2 on Nov. 22, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on Dec. 20, and Blue Sky Studios’ Spies in Disguise, moving from September to Christmas. Among early 2020 titles are Fox’s Underwater on Jan. 10, a new Kingsman movie on Feb. 14, and Call of the Wild on Feb. 21, followed by Pixar’s Onward on March 6 and Disney’s Mulan on March 27.
“We’re excited to put in place a robust and diverse slate that lays the foundation of our long-term strategy, bringing together a breadth of films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Fox, Fox Searchlight, and Blue Sky Studios to create an extraordinary collection of cinematic experiences for audiences around the world,” said Cathleen Taff, President, Theatrical Distribution, Franchise Management, and Business & Audience Insights, The Walt Disney Studios. “With a strong summer already in place, we are eager to carry that momentum forward over the coming years thanks to a creative wellspring of bold and imaginative stories coming from our world-class studios – including several new chapters of two revered franchises, Avatar and Star Wars.”
Source: The Walt Disney Studio
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-at-Large of Animation World Network.