Disney has once again announced changes to its feature film calendar in the face of the growing Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced movie set shut-downs and theatre closings around the world.
In an expected move, Pixar’s Soul, starring Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey, and directed by Oscar winner Pete Docter, has been moved to 11/20/20 from its previous 6/19/20 release date. Disney’s next animated feature, Raya and the Last Dragon, starring Awkwafina and Cassie Steele, and directed by Paul Briggs and Dean Wellins, has been bumped to 3/12/21 from its originally scheduled 11/25/20 date; it takes that spot from an Untitled Disney Live-Action film, which has been removed from the schedule.
Earlier this month, Disney announced a major release schedule overhaul that affected most of its films, including the entire Marvel slate. Marvel’s Scarlett Johansson spy thriller, Black Widow was moved to November 6, 2020, taking the spot previously held by The Eternals, which moved to February 12, 2021. In addition, Marvel’s Shangh-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings shifted to May 7, 2021; Doctor Strange 2, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, to November 5, 2021; and Thor: Love and Thunder, starring Chris Hemsworth, to February 18, 2022. Black Panther 2 and Captain Marvel 2 will now hit theatres May 6, 2022 and July 8, 2022 respectively.
Mulan, the live-action remake of Disney’s 1998 animated action-adventure, takes over Jungle Cruise’s July 24, 2020 release date; the Disneyland ride-inspired adventure, starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, has been pushed a year to July 20, 2021. Indiana Jones 5, starring Harrison Ford, moves from next summer to July 29, 2022.
Soul tells the story of Joe Gardner, a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth. Determined to return to his life, Joe teams up with a precocious soul, 22, who has never understood the appeal of the human experience. As Joe desperately tries to show 22 what’s great about living, he may just discover the answers to some of life’s most important questions.
Pixar’s first new release this year, Dan Scanlon’s Onward, fell victim to the early days of the pandemic and fared poorly at the box office before being released earlier this month on Disney+.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.