The great shuffle has begun.
The great shuffle has begun.
Image: Disney

Because it’s still unclear if and when countries across the world will manage to get on top of the covid-19 pandemic, there is no way of knowing when it will once again be safe for the public to return to everyday life and pile into movie theaters. This has led to Disney pushing back the release dates of a number of its big-budget movies that were meant to premiere this spring, like Mulan and Black Widow, as well as make some other drastic movie release decisions.

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Today, Disney announced that it now plans for Mulan to hit theaters on an optimistic July 24, which was previously meant to be the release date for its live-action Jungle Cruise movie, whose release date has been pushed all the way back to July 30, 2021. Similarly, Black Widow’s theatrical premiere has now been pushed to November 6, which required other Marvel Cinematic Universe films to be shifted in turn.

The Eternals will be bumped to May 21, 2021—Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ original intended launch date. Doctor Strange won’t be going mad until November 5, 2021 now, and that change pushed Thor: Love and Thunder’s release to Feb. 28, 2022. Curiously, Captain Marvel 2's release date is moving up to July 8, 2022. THR also noted, “the untitled Indiana Jones film is being pushed back a year, from July 9, 2021 to July 29, 2022.” (No update was offered on the already much-shifted New Mutants.)

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Beyond the massive reshuffling of its schedule, the company also made the interesting choice to premiere Artemis Fowl on Disney+ some time in the near future rather than releasing it in theaters on May 29 as was initially planned. This is the first such instance (in the U.S) in our present worldwide climate in which a Hollywood film meant for theatrical release will go straight to a streaming service rather than VOD.

“With audiences largely unable to attend theatres in the current environment, we are thrilled to offer the premiere of Artemis Fowl on Disney+,” said Ricky Strauss, President, Content & Marketing for Disney+ in a press release. “Director Kenneth Branagh and his spectacular cast take viewers right into the vibrant, fantasy world of the beloved book, which fans have been waiting to see brought to life onscreen for years. It’s great family entertainment that is the perfect addition to Disney+’s summer lineup.”

Disney’s doing the right thing in making it clear that it understands the reality that people aren’t going to be going to see movies in theaters any time soon. But these new release dates aren’t at all guaranteed, because there’s no telling what the coming months are going to look like in terms of how the world will be dealing with the pandemic.

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io9 Culture Critic and Staff Writer. Cyclops was right.

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