As Disney and Fox rework their future release slates in light of their impending deal, the Mouse House has removed an untitled Marvel Studios movie from their 2020 schedule. In addition to that move, Disney has also moved back Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt’s Jungle Cruise from 2019 to 2020. Fox also moved its own Death on the Nile, the Murder on the Orient Express sequel, from its original 2019 release date back to 2020.
In additional moves, Fox shifted Brad Pitt’s sci-fi movie Ad Astra from January 2019 to late May, making it an official entry in always competitive summer blockbuster sweepstakes. Fox also moved the Kumail Nanjiani-Dave Bautista action-comedy Stuber from May to July. Fox and Disney, of course, are headed for one of the biggest show business acquisitions ever after a deal was struck for Disney to purchase Fox assets for a reported $71 billion.
When it comes to Disney, there is perhaps no bigger property than the MCU, which thus far has grossed a total of $17.5 billion at the global box office. As reported by THR, Disney and Fox’s game of release date musical chairs has resulted in at least one future Marvel movie giving up its original date. The untitled film originally slated for release on July 31, 2020 has now been removed from the schedule with no new release date announced. Here is Disney's full release schedule for 2020, with Jungle Cruise more-or-less replacing the now-booted Marvel title:
- February 14, 2020: Untitled Disney Live Action
- March 6, 2020: Untitled Pixar Animation
- March 27, 2020: Mulan
- May 1, 2020: Untitled Marvel
- May 29, 2020: Maleficent 2
- June 19, 2020: Untitled Pixar Animation
- July 24, 2020: Jungle Cruise
- October 9, 2020: Untitled Disney Live Action
- November 6, 2020: Untitled Marvel
- November 25, 2020: Untitled Disney Animation
- December 23, 2020: Untitled Disney Live Action
It is not known what Marvel movie would have taken that summer 2020 release date, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 would seem the most logical choice to have been targeted for that date. However, plans for that movie are now very much up in the air since James Gunn’s firing by Disney after the writer-director saw some of his old, offensive tweets dredged up by right-wing media provocateurs. No replacement director has been named for the third Guardians film, but it’s been rumored that Disney is seeking a female director to take over. Amid all the uncertainty over the director, the movie’s production start date has reportedly been shifted to 2021, so obviously it would not be ready for 2020.
Meanwhile, Gunn has found a soft landing spot at Warner Bros. where he will reportedly go to work on Suicide Squad 2. Guardians star Dave Bautista has reportedly said that he would like to follow his former director over to WB and take on a role in the sequel to the 2016 film that starred Jared Leto, Will Smith and Margot Robbie. Disney in the meantime has a huge slate set for 2019, including the MCU entries Captain Marvel, Avengers 4 and Spider-Man: Far From Home. Plans beyond those three 2019 releases appear far from finalized, but it has been reported that Ryan Coogler will return to write and direct Black Panther 2. Doctor Strange 2 could also be a candidate to hit the fast track in order to be ready for 2020.