Movies 'Mulan' and 'Top Gun' delayed as coronavirus cases surge
© Getty Images

Watching a blockbuster in a movie theater is looking increasingly unlikely this summer.

Disney's "Mulan" and Paramount's "Top Gun: Maverick" are both postponed from the summer release schedule, and other major upcoming films have been delayed, including the next installments of "Avatar" and "Star Wars."

Those delays, announced this week, follow previously announced delays of franchise installments of the "Fast and Furious" and "James Bond" series of films.

ADVERTISEMENT

The moves come as COVID-19 cases continue to rise around the country. Health experts have warned that crowded indoor events can increase the chances of spreading the disease.

Earlier in the summer, as the country began to reopen after strict public health lockdowns, movie fans and executives pinned their hopes on director Christopher Nolan's "Tenet" launching the summer blockbuster season.

That movie release was once scheduled for a July 17 and then an Aug. 12 release, but this week was postponed by Warner Bros. indefinitely.

Theater chains are responding to the schedule changes by pushing back planned reopenings.

AMC Theaters, the nation's largest chain, on Thursday pushed back its reopening date a second time to mid-to-late August. Regal Cinemas, the second-largest movie theater chain, and the theater chain Cinemark have also pushed reopening to as-yet-undetermined dates, after previously planning to reopen in July.

A few big studio films remain on the tentative schedule for late summer, such as "Unhinged," starring Russell Crowe, which had planned a July release and is now looking at August.

Drive-in theaters are also making a comeback in the U.S. due to patrons' ability to socially distance outdoors and in personal vehicles. Walmart recently announced plans to convert 160 of its store parking lots into drive-in movie theaters starting in August.

Meanwhile, movie theaters in other parts of the world have slowly started to reopen. In Beijing, theaters partially reopened Friday at reduced capacity, according to The Associated Press.