Disney announces new 'Star Wars' films, moves 'Avatar' sequels

  • Movies
  • Friday, 10 May 2019

There will be three new 'Star Wars' films after 'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker'. — YouTube

Moviegoers will have to wait a little longer to return to Pandora.

James Cameron’s long-awaited and oft-delayed follow-up to Avatar has been pushed back another year.

Avatar 2 will hit theatres on Dec 17, 2021 instead of Dec 18, 2020 as originally planned. Its move means that Avatar 3 will open on Dec 22, 2023 as opposed to Dec 17, 2021 while Avatar 4 will bow on Dec 19, 2025 instead of Dec 20, 2024 and Avatar 5 will launch Dec 17, 2027.

The news comes as part of a larger shift in release dates unveiled by Walt Disney Studios.

The company is moving around the debuts of various movies it inherited after buying the bulk of 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets in a US$71.3bil (RM295.6bil) mega-merger.

As part of the great release date shake-up, Disney announced there will be a trio of untitled Star Wars entries.

These will hit theatres after Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker brings the Skywalker spin-off saga to a close this December.

The first of the new three films will hit the big screen on Dec 16, 2022. There will be two other follow-ups that will premiere in the Christmas corridor on Dec 20, 2024 and Dec 18, 2026. The news means that Disney is poised to dominate the busy holiday movie-going season for the foreseeable future, as it alternates between Avatar and Star Wars films.

Moviegoers will be treated to new Na’vi and Jedi adventures each year between 2021 and 2027.

Following its box office behemoth Avengers: Endgame, Disney has also adjusted a few upcoming Marvel releases. Fox’s The New Mutants, an X-Men film with Game Of Thrones star Maisie Williams, was pushed back from Aug 2, 2019 to April 3, 2020.

Meanwhile, Gambit, another Fox-owned X-Men entry, was removed from the studio’s schedule. The Channing Tatum-led spin-off was previously dated for March 13, 2020.

But that’s not all. In 2020, Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story adaptation” will bow on Dec 18, while Cruella, a live-action 101 Dalmatians spin-off, will launch Dec 23 ahead of the long holiday weekend.

As expected, Ad Astra, an astronaut drama starring Brad Pitt, will now lift off Sept 20, 2019.

The movie had barely received any promotion ahead of its original Memorial Day weekend slot, so a delay was all but inevitable.

A handful of summer 2019 releases were also shifted around, including Fox 2000’s The Art Of Racing In The Rain, which was moved up to Aug 9, and Fox Searchlight’s Ready Or Not, now debuting Aug 23. Meanwhile, Artemis Fowl, a YA adaptation, once scheduled for Aug 9, 2019, is now dated for May 29, 2020.

“We’re excited to put in place a robust and diverse slate that lays the foundation of our long-term strategy, bringing together a breadth of films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Fox, Fox Searchlight, and Blue Sky Studios to create an extraordinary collection of cinematic experiences for audiences around the world,” said Cathleen Taff, the studio’s president of theatrical distribution, in a statement.

“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 -- including several new chapters of two revered franchises, Avatar and Star Wars.” – Reuters

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