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Disney dates a new 'Star Wars' trilogy, shifts 'Avatar' sequels and more!

The Walt Disney Studios have unveiled a new slate of upcoming movie releases that includes titles from the recent acquisition of the 20th Century Fox. Among the highlights is a new trilogy of “Star Wars” films, set to arrive in 2022, 2024 and 2026. Unfortunately for fans of James Cameron’s “Avatar,” the next chapter in the science fiction adventure series has been pushed back until 2021.

“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,” says Cathleen Taff, President, Theatrical Distribution, Franchise Management, and Business & Audience Insights, The Walt Disney Studios. “With a strong summer already in place, we are eager to carry that momentum forward over the coming years thanks to a creative wellspring of bold and imaginative stories coming from our world-class studios – including several new chapters of two revered franchises, Avatar and Star Wars.”

On the heels of the record setting success of Marvel Studios‘ Avengers: Endgame, the 2019 summer slate includes Disney’s Aladdin on May 24, the X-Men franchise entry Dark Phoenix on June 7, Pixar’s Toy Story 4 on June 21, Fox’s Stuber on July 12, and Disney’s The Lion King on July 19. Fox 2000’s The Art of Racing in the Rain moves up to August 9 and Fox Searchlight’s Ready or Not will now release on Aug. 23. Meanwhile, three films move to later dates: Ad Astra will arrive on September 20, The New Mutants will hit on April 4, 2020 and Artemis Fowl will arrive on May 29, 2020.

The studios’ 2019 slate rounds out with Fox’s The Woman in the Window on October 4 and Ford V. Ferrari on November 15. Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil hits on October 18 and Disney Animation’s Frozen 2 on November 22, followed by Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on December 20 and Blue Sky Studios’ Spies in Disguise, now debuting on Christmas day. Among the early 2020 titles are Fox’s Underwater on January 10, a new Kingsman movie on February 14, Call of the Wild on February 21, followed by Pixar’s Onward on March 6 and Disney’s Mulan on March 27.

The updated calendar also sets release dates for major franchises Avatar and Star Wars. With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker bringing the original Skywalker Saga to its conclusion, three new as-yet-untitled Star Wars films will release on the pre-Christmas weekend every other year beginning in 2022. Four forthcoming Avatar films, expanding the vibrant world of Pandora, will release on the pre-Christmas weekend every other year beginning in 2021. In the holiday corridor for 2020, Fox’s West Side Story adaptation, directed by Steven Spielberg, will debut December 18 in the pre-Christmas slot, with Disney’s Cruella opening Wednesday, December 23, for the long holiday weekend.


Silas Lesnick is the Senior Editor of Moviebill. He has been covering entertainment news out of Los Angeles for more than a decade. You can reach him via e-mail or on Twitter.