Disney Just Shuffled Its Release Schedule. It’s Bad News for Star Wars Fans.
During the 2022 D23 Expo, The Walt Disney Company announced several exciting new movie projects.
However, the company also remained eerily quiet about at least one high-profile title. We now understand why.
Disney just shuffled its movie schedule, and it’s bad news for Star Wars fans.
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron Pulled from the Release Schedule
Two weeks ago, both Star Wars and regular movie sites loudly wondered whether Disney would discuss Star Wars: Rogue Squadron at D23.
After all, Disney quietly pulled Rogue Squadron from its production schedule late in 2021.
Director Patty Jenkins, the genius behind DC’s Wonder Woman, had signed on to direct a movie with a title that made gamers smile.
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron was a popular videogame franchise at the turn of the century.
The thought of a popular director like Jenkins working on this movie project sounded ideal. But, alas, Hollywood doesn’t usually work like that.
Sometimes, the projects that sound the best on paper prove the most frustrating. To wit, Rogue Squadron may be dead as a movie. At a minimum, it’s delayed indefinitely.
Disney refused to mention the project at D23. Now, the company has undergone the formality of removing Star Wars: Rogue Squadron from the release schedule.
Disney Removes ‘Star Wars’ Spinoff ‘Rogue Squadron’ From Release Calendar, Sets Dates for ‘Snow White,’ ‘Inside Out 2’ and ‘Lion King’ Sequel https://t.co/KqnlPCZWQC
— Variety (@Variety) September 15, 2022
Before today, the project had targeted a release date of December 22nd, 2023. In other words, it was Disney’s tentpole title during the lucrative holiday box office season next year.
Instead, the project has no announced filming dates and may never happen. Sorry, Star Wars fans. This one’s not a surprise, but it is a disappointment.
— Forbes Entertainment (@ForbesEnt) September 15, 2022
Disney Delays Haunted Mansion
Historically, when a studio moved a release date, it was generally a bad sign. Often, this decision indicated the need for reshoots.
In other words, some new film screened in front of test audiences and didn’t do well.
On rare occasions, studios delayed movies until more substantial box office periods as an indication of faith, though.
I suspect the latter move is what we’re witnessing with Disney’s Haunted Mansion. This movie had previously declared a release date of March 10th, 2023.
Today, Disney delayed Haunted Mansion until August 11th, 2023.
Since two other non-Disney movies currently hold that date, I suspect Disney will eventually move Haunted Mansion up a month.
What I suspect has happened here is that Disney likes the movie. However, the continued virtual effects (VFX) crisis in Hollywood would have caused problems with a March release date.
OK, SO TALK ABOUT A FREAKY FRIDAY!
Just attended @DisneyD23 and was a surprise for the fans of new film from The Haunted Mansion where I play Madame Leota🔮 AND I RODE IN ON A DOOM BUGGY! SHUT UP! pic.twitter.com/Fj1AINutjm
— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) September 9, 2022
Now, Disney can give its VFX experts more time to work. Then, once the project is ready, the company can establish a strong summer release date.
Most people who have talked about Haunted Mansion with me suggest it will be a blockbuster, probably even more successful than the recent Jungle Cruise.
For this reason, an August release date doesn’t make much sense. Schools are either back in session by August 11th or almost ready to open.
So, that aspect would reduce the daily box office numbers. Also – and more importantly from Disney’s perspective – Disney+ Day was September 8th this year.
Disney would like to add a blockbuster title like Haunted Mansion to the service on Disney+ Day. It’d need to open in theaters 45 days before then for that to happen.
Ultimately, I expect Haunted Mansion to debut on July 7th or July 14th. Late June wouldn’t surprise me, either.
Other Release Date Changes
Disney announced several other updates and additions to its theatrical release schedule. Here they are, along with a few thoughts afterward:
- Next Goal Wins – April 21st, 2023
- Wish – November 22nd, 2023
- Elio – March 1st, 2024
- Snow White – March 22nd, 2024
- Inside Out 2 – June 14th, 2024
- Mufasa: The Lion King – July 5th, 2024
- Untitled Marvel – September 6th, 2024
Wish, Elio, and Inside Out 2 are all animated titles. So it’s significant that Disney has listed the three films as theatrical releases.
In doing so, Disney reinforces Chapek’s recent comments that his company still believes in the theatrical window.
You may recall that every recent Pixar film except for Lightyear debuted on Disney+, much to the chagrin of Pixar’s staff.
People make movies to watch them in theaters, but Chapek has indicated a desire to remain flexible about release windows.
Sometimes, Disney+ benefits more from a Pixar title debuting on the streaming service first.
Disney sounds like it has huge ambitions for Wish and Inside Out 2. So, I fully expect theatrical releases for both titles.
Elio should also receive one, but it’ll need to be a good movie for that to happen. Otherwise, Disney may sour on the idea and slot it on Disney+.
Then again, how often is a Pixar movie not good? There’s The Good Dinosaur and…that’s it. That’s the list.
The (extremely unconfirmed) speculation I’m hearing about Untitled Marvel is that it’s either Deadpool 3 or Nova. Both titles would make sense in this timeframe.
About the Other Projects…
Next Goal Wins is a Taika Waititi project starring “the Queen of Peak TV,” Elisabeth Moss, and Michael Fassbender.
Taika Waititi’s ‘NEXT GOAL WINS’, starring Michael Fassbender and Elisabeth Moss, releases on April 21, 2023 in theaters.
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) September 15, 2022
This story is Disney’s latest sports movie based on actual events. Specifically, it’s about the American Samoan soccer team’s attempt to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
You don’t need to know much about soccer to understand that this team lost a qualifier 31-0. They were the longest of long shots. So, think Cool Runnings for soccer.
The dates for Snow White and The Lion King prequel suggest that Disney will claim another dominant box office performance in 2024.
Nobody realizes this, but the 2019 live-action remake of The Lion King earned $1.663 billion in worldwide box office.
The movie was an absolute juggernaut, but people paid more attention to Avengers: Endgame that summer.
In announcing this slot, Disney hasn’t quite pot-committed to saving movie theaters. It’s a substantial step, though.
While exhibitors will continue to bite the hand that feeds them, Disney just threw its support behind an industry that desperately needs the help.