Disney Slides a Slew of Films to The “Back Burner” Amid Ongoing Theater Attendance Lag Starting with ‘Doctor Strange 2’

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Oct
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2021

Marvel fans, brace yourselves to wait a little bit longer to see Doctor Strange 2. Other titles affected by the push back are, ‘Thor 4,’ ‘Black Panther’ Sequel, and ‘Indiana Jones 5’.

Image Still: Marvel Studios

The Marvel MCEU has had release adjustments that look like this at the moment, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” from March 25 to May 6, “Thor: Love and Thunder” from May 6 to July 8 and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” from July 8 to Nov. 11. With the “Black Panther” sequel jumping to November, “The Marvels” has been postponed to early 2023 and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” was bumped from Feb. 17 to July 28, 2023. In addition to the deluge of Marvel delays, Disney has moved the fifth “Indiana Jones” installment back nearly a year. The still-untitled film, starring Harrison Ford as the fedora-wearing, swashbuckling archaeologist, will open on June 30, 2023 instead of July 29, 2022.

The major release date shuffle comes after Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” cemented its place as a pandemic-era box office hit and ahead of “Eternals,” the MCU entry that is scheduled for Nov. 5. The scheduling overhaul is related to production and not box office returns, according to sources at Disney. The next “Black Panther” entry, for one, is still filming in Atlanta. Since Marvel has become an interconnected and meticulously planned universe — which spans dozens of film and several new television series — any production delay causes a domino effect on the rest of the franchise. Four untitled 2023 movies from Marvel, 20th Century and Disney’s live-action division, have been removed from the calendar, while one untitled Marvel movie has relocated from Nov. 10 to Nov. 3, 2023.

COVID-19 has shaken up the way studios release their biggest movies, with many major tentpoles bucking tradition to land simultaneously in theaters and on digital platforms. After putting “Black Widow” starring Scarlett Johansson, “101 Dalmatians” prequel “Cruella” and animated adventure “Raya and the Last Dragon” on Disney Plus on the same day as their respective theatrical premieres, the studio has reaffirmed its commitment to the big screen — for now.