disney film slate

The Disney film slate has been a big question mark since the finalization of its 21st Century Fox acquisition. The historic deal came just as two of Disney’s biggest franchises were coming to the end of their respective eras — Marvel Studios with Avengers: Endgame, and Star Wars with the upcoming The Rise of Skywalker.

What could Disney’s film release schedule look like once the dust has settled around these franchises and the historic Fox deal? It will be one heavily centered around James Cameron’s Avatar franchise, which has been filming its four sequels back-to-back. But in the wake of the Fox deal, Avatar is getting pushed back a year.

avatar 2 story

Avatar Sequels

Avatar 2, 3, 4, and 5 were set to begin rolling into theaters starting in 2020, with the sequels to Cameron’s 2009 box office phenomenon initially set to be released nearly back-to-back in theaters. However, Disney has pushed back Avatar 2 to 2021, a year after its original release, but will release a new Avatars sequel every other year following that. Avatar 2 will hit theaters on December 17, 2021, with Avatar 3 following it on December 22, 2023Avatar 4 on December 29, 2025, and finally Avatar 5 on December 17, 2027.

The “four forthcoming Avatar films, expanding the vibrant world of Pandora, will release on the pre-Christmas weekend every other year beginning in 2021,” Disney announced in a press release.

This will ostensibly allow Cameron time to finish up the latter films, which were originally going to come to theaters several years after Avatar 2 and 3 were released. And with Star Wars bringing back its franchise in 2022, it seems like Disney will be alternating a Star Wars movie with an Avatar sequel every year.

Artemis Fowl trailer

Disney Adaptations Get Pushed Too

Disney’s original films aren’t immune to delays. Artemis Fowl, which was initially set to hit theaters in August of this year, has been pushed to May 29, 2020, making fans of the boy genius to wait for the long-awaited adaptation a bit longer. Disney has set a release for its Call of the Wild adaptation for February 21, 2020 as well.

Meanwhile, Disney’s continued slate of live-action adaptations of its animated hits continue to go strong. Mulan maintains its March 27, 2020 while Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is still set to close out 2019 on October 18, 2019.

gambit movie

Superhero Slate Includes New Mutants But No Gambit

New Mutants may have gotten delayed again, but at least it’s still on the Disney film slate. The film release schedule, which stretches through 2027, doesn’t even mention the embattled Gambit, which may end up becoming one the victims of the Disney-Fox deal and fall through the cracks as Disney folds in the Fox films and its superhero properties.

While Fox films don’t have a huge presence past 2021, Disney has mostly kept the major releases on board and frontloaded them in 2019 and 2020.

“We’re excited to put in place a robust and diverse slate that lays the foundation of our long-term strategy, bringing together a breadth of films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Fox, Fox Searchlight, and Blue Sky Studios to create an extraordinary collection of cinematic experiences for audiences around the world,” Disney Theatrical Distribution chief Cathleen Taff said in a press release.

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