Mulan was so close to being released before the coronavirus pandemic got bad that it had an American premiere. There were early reviews! At the last minute, Disney decided to postpone the movie to July — and then, when the pandemic did not improve by early summer, to push it back again to August. Now they’ve decided to postpone it a third time. And they offered no new release date at present, a chilling sign of just how bad things have gotten in this country, and how uncertain the future looks to people whose finances rest on selling tickets in movie theaters.

Disney’s announcement coincides with the news that they are delaying all their Star Wars and Avatar sequels for at least a year. (The first new Avatar was previously scheduled to arrive a year from this coming Christmas.) And it follows Warner Bros. decision to postpone the release of their last summer 2020 holdout, Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. Ominously, they didn’t give that movie a new release date yet either.

This leaves the state of theatrical movies looking about as grim as it has at any point in the last six months. There are no big movies scheduled to open exclusively in theaters until A Quiet Place Part II in early September. After that, it’s Wonder Woman 1984 in early October. In a sign of the increasingly dark forecast for theaters, Bill & Ted Face the Music announced today that they would be premiering on VOD the same day it “opens in theaters” on September 1. That sort of release soon be the rule, not the exception.

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