You know, the longer this whole “global pandemic” thing goes on, the more we’re starting to respect the producers of Fast And Furious sequel F9. Rather than hem and haw with release dates, or try to work out the Kafka-esque graph of how many people have to risk how much of their lives in order to see Vin Diesel beat up a car in order for them to make a profit, Universal just said “Fuck it, there’ll be another summer next year,” and punted the whole thing into 2021. Meanwhile, its competitors continue to engage in a game we’ve since dubbed Pandemic Chicken, with Disney now becoming the latest one to blink. Which is to say that, per Variety, Niki Caro’s live-action Mulan remake has just relinquished its title as “2020's first summer blockbuster” yet again, dropping back from a July 24 release date to August 21.
Among other things, this means that Warner Bros.’ Tenet is once again in lead “Bet your life?” position at the summer box office, having dropped back yesterday to August 12. And it will presumably stay in that position until juuuust before it’s set to come out, at which point there’s better than average odds that they’ll move it again, because we’re starting to suspect that no one in Hollywood has any fucking clue how long this thing is going to go on.
Not that that’s stopped Disney from continuing to play the “projecting confidence” game; the studio issued a statement today, assuring fans that, “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.” (That “we’re being flexible” messaging was all over yesterday’s Tenet move, too.) This, along with the now-standard reassurance to the theater industry that Hollywood’s not abandoning its hollowed-out skeleton just yet: “Director Niki Caro and our cast and crew have created a beautiful, epic, and moving film that is everything the cinematic experience should be, and that’s where we believe it belongs—on the world stage and the big screen for audiences around the globe to enjoy together.”
Anyway, we’ll see you back here in a month, when our ongoing game of “punt the blockbuster” resumes.