by Ray Keating
May 8, 2019
Just in case you were wondering what the Walt Disney Company had in mind for movie releases – especially with the Fox acquisition – for the next few years, they served up a film slate covering the rest of 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and even some items going all the way to 2027.
2027? Geez, I don’t want to think about how old I’ll be in 2027.
Anyway, what’s most interesting in this line-up of 63 movies?
First, after Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives on December 20, 2019, we won’t see another Star Wars movie in theaters until December 2022, followed by another Star Wars entry December 2024 and one in December 2026. But don’t worry, Disney+ streaming will have Star Wars offerings to keep us happy – presumably.
Second, Avatar 2 has been pushed back yet another year – to December 17, 2021. That is scheduled to be followed by three more Avatar movies hitting theaters in December of 2023, 2025 and 2027. My guess? Don’t count on more than one sequel to Avatar. The original movie made big bucks because of its ground-breaking special effects at the time, not because of the characters or story. Indeed, how many people can name any character from Avatar? Disney handled “Pandora” in Animal Kingdom smartly. It’s a beautiful area, with two wonderful rides – “Flight of Passage” and “Na’vi River Journey” – and people can enjoy it without any knowledge of Avatar.
The best case for Disney, of course, is that Cameron actually comes up with a good story for Avatar 2, and that builds the brand. Worst case, Avatar 2 becomes a massively expensive bomb, and it hurts the Animal Kingdom park. Most likely? Avatar 2 muddles through, and “Pandora” separates itself even more from the films, and continues to attract people.
Third, Spider-Man: Far From Home, being released on July 2, 2019, is not on this list because it’s a Sony movie, but it’s still part of the MCU. As for Marvel films where Disney is in full control, after Dark Phoenix this June and The New Mutants in April 2020 presumably wrap up the Fox Marvel efforts, Marvel fans will then have to wait until May 1, 2020, for the next MCU film, followed by entries in November 2020, three in 2021, and three in 2022. No official titles on any of those were included, but we pretty much know that we’ll be seeing Guardians of the Galaxy 3, Black Panther 2, Dr. Strange 2 and a Black Widow prequel.
Fourth, Pixar fans get Toy Story 4 on June 21 of this year, followed by Onward in March 2020, and untitled films schedule for June of 2020, 2021, and 2022.
Fifth, Steven Spielberg is on the Disney slate for West Side Story in December 2020, and anIndiana Jones movie, with Harrison Ford, on July 9, 2021.
Sixth, and finally, from the more traditional “Disney” line, among the films coming are a live-action The Lion King (July 19, 2019), Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (October 18, 2019), Frozen 2 (November 22, 2019), live-action Mulan (March 27, 2020), Artemis Fowl (March 29, 2020), Jungle Cruise (July 24, 2020), and Cruella (December 23, 2020).
With any movie line-up, there will be mega-hits, hits, misses and bombs, but taken as a whole, this is an impressive list from the massive studio that is Disney.
Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels, with three books - Reagan Country: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel, Heroes and Villains: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story and Shifting Sands: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story – published in 2018. In addition, the second edition of Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel was published in January 2019. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.