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Published On: May 8, 2019 01:41 PM NPT By: Associated Press

Disney slates Fox films, ‘Avatar’ pushed another year

Disney slates Fox films, ‘Avatar’ pushed another year

Photo: AP


Now armed with the upcoming releases of 20th Century Fox, the Walt Disney Co. on Tuesday set forth a shock-and-awe release schedule spanning the next eight years, including the yet-again-postponed 'Avatar' sequels, a new batch of 'Star Wars' releases and Steven Spielberg’s 'West Side Story' adaptation.

Since Disney’s $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox was completed in March, the studio hadn’t budged on the listed release dates of a number of Fox releases, even as it was increasingly apparent to the industry that high-profile upcoming films were sure to be delayed under the Disney shake-up.

But the most notable delay announced Tuesday was a familiar one: The long wait for more “Avatar” films will go on a little longer.

James Cameron’s long-delayed 'Avatar 2' will now open in theaters on December 17, 2021, instead of its most recent date of December 18, 2020 — which itself followed numerous already scrapped release dates. The subsequent 'Avatar' sequels have moved to 2023, 2025 and 2027, respectively.

Cameron’s original 'Avatar' came out in 2009. Disney’s 'Avengers: Endgame' is currently approaching the film’s $2.8 billion box-office record with $2.2 billion in worldwide ticket sales after less than two weeks of release. Disney previously dated eight Marvel movies over the next three and a half years, though it’s yet to map out its post-'Endgame' cinematic universe.

Disney also dated three untitled 'Star Wars' films to arrive in theaters in 2022, 2024 and 2026. The company hasn’t revealed details of those projects. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson is developing a new trilogy for the space saga.

That means that Disney, which this December will release 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,' is set to rule the next nine Christmas box office seasons with either an 'Avatar' or a 'Star Wars' movie, except for one. For the lone exception, December 2020, the company has dated Steven Spielberg’s 'West Side Story' (Dec. 18) and 'Cruella' (Dec. 23), a Cruella De Vil origin story starring Emma Stone.

As expected, a number of upcoming Fox films were delayed. James Grey’s science-fiction tale 'Ad Astra,' with Brad Pitt, has been pushed from May 24 to September 20. 'The New Mutants,' an 'X-Men' movie, was pushed from this summer to April next year. The “X-Men” spinoff “Gambit” has been removed entirely. The YA adaptation 'Artemis Fowl' moved from this August to next May.

Disney is already poised for a summer string of blockbusters including 'Aladdin,' 'Toy Story 4' and 'The Lion King.' “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,” Cathleen Taff, head of distribution for Disney, said in a statement.

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