In a development that harkened back to the worst days of the COVID pandemic, Disney announced this week that it will push back the theatrical release dates of a significant number of its upcoming films, including the next chapters in major franchises such as Avengers, Avatar, Alien, and Blade.
Disney cited as a primary reason for the delay the impact of the Hollywood writers’ strike on its ability to move production forward on expected timelines. At this point, the studio expects an average impact of six to twelve months for its upcoming features, with the longest delays of three to four years for James Cameron’s mega-productions of AVATAR 3 and AVATAR 4.
Some analysts suspect that Disney may also have wanted to give its production teams more time to work on its upcoming releases after some have complained that the special effects for some recent Disney films have been somewhat lacking. Such critiques have bubbled from critics and audiences for Marvel titles THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER and ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA and even for Disney Animation’s THE LITTLE MERMAID.
Thus far, only Disney has announced delays for its upcoming slate, but there are worries that the phenomenon will spread to other Hollywood studios, which could lead to uncomfortable gaps in the upcoming theatrical release schedule.