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‘Top Gun’ sequel delayed, ‘Mulan’ pulled off schedule due to COVID-19

'Top Gun' sequel delayed, 'Mulan' pulled off schedule due to COVID-19
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Mulan wields her sword with courage and honor in Disney’s new live-action adaption of the beloved animated film.

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In a dramatic shift in film release dates amid the re-surging coronavirus pandemic, Paramount Studios delayed two of its biggest 2020 films on Thursday, horror sequel “A Quiet Place Part II” and Tom Cruise vehicle “Top Gun: Maverick,” to next year. 

Walt Disney Studios pulled “Mulan” off its release schedule and pushed the next “Avatar” and “Star Wars” films a year.

“Quiet Place Part II,” which was moved to Sept. 4 during the early days of COVID-19, will now open April 23, 2021. The next “Top Gun,” which Paramount had slotted as a holiday movie with a Dec. 23 date, is now scheduled for July 2, 2021.

In a statement, Paramount distribution executives Chris Aronson and Mark Viane reaffirmed the studio’s commitment “to the theatrical experience and our exhibition partners, and want to stress that we are confident that, when the time comes, audiences everywhere will once again enjoy the singular joy of seeing Paramount films on the big screen.”

Coronavirus postponements: Christopher Nolan’s new movie ‘Tenet’ delayed for third time 

‘I think it’s a certainty’: James Cameron predicts ‘Avatar’ will ultimately top ‘Avengers: Endgame’

“Top Gun: Maverick,” starring Tom Cruise, has been delayed to next year due to COVID-19 concerns. (Photo: SCOTT GARFIELD)

“Mulan,” which already had its March 27 theatrical release delayed twice by the coronavirus outbreak, was scheduled to hit theaters Aug. 21. However, the latest Disney release schedule now lists the date as “unset” for the $200 million live-action drama based on the 1998 animated film.

“While the pandemic 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,” Disney co-chairmen Alan Horn and Alan Bergman said in a joint statement.

Also delayed are the next four “Avatar” films directed by James Cameron. “Avatar 2,” previously scheduled to be released on Dec. 17, 2021, has been moved a year later to Dec. 16, 2022. “Avatar 3,” previously dated for December 2023, has moved to December 2024.

Yifei Liu stars as the title warrior of Disney’s live-action redo of “Mulan.” (Photo: DISNEY)

“Avatar 4” moved from a year to December 2026 and “Avatar 5” from December 2027 to December 2028.

In an Instagram post Thursday from New Zealand, where live production on “Avatar” has resumed, Cameron explained the need for the new dates.

“There is no one more disappointed about this delay than me,” Cameron wrote. “What most of you likely don’t know is that the pandemic is still preventing us from being allowed to recommence most of our virtual production work on stage in Los Angeles. That work is just as critical to the films as the live-action work.” 

The pandemic-forced chain reaction continued in the “Star Wars” galaxy, with three untitled films moving a year. One set for Dec. 16, 2022, moved to Dec. 22, 2023, another moved from December 2026 to December 2027 and the third moved from December 2026 to December 2027.

This week, Christopher Nolan’s much-anticipated “Tenet” was delayed for the third time. Warner Bros. has not announced a new release date for the thriller starring John David Washington and Robert Pattinson.

Paramount also moved its upcoming “Jackass” film from July 2, 2021, to Sept. 3, 2021, and announced that a sequel to its popular “Sonic the Hedgehog” film will hit theaters April 8, 2022.Other major Disney changes announced Thursday:

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Contributing: Brian Truitt, Associated Press.

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