Disney has delayed the release dates for Ad Astra and Artemis Fowl. The Mouse House announced new dates on through to 2027 today, in the wake of its purchase of Fox's movie and TV assets in March. Among other things, the House that Mickey Built confirmed it intends to alternate between a new Star Wars movie and Avatar film every year in December, starting with Avatar 2 in 2021 and an as-yet untitled Star Wars adventure in 2022. It also pushed Fox's already-belated New Mutants spinoff back another year, setting the horror-tinged mutant flick for an April 2020 launch time.
As for Ad Astra and Artemis Fowl: both films were scheduled to arrive this summer, until recently. The former has yet to begin its marketing and only just lost its previous May 2019 release date a week ago (though its delay has been expected for a while). Meanwhile, Artemis Fowl already has a teaser trailer and was well on its way to arriving in theaters in mid-August with little fuss. However, as part of its re-strategizing, Disney has pushed the movie back by about nine to ten months.
Following today's announcement, Ad Astra and Artemis Fowl are now scheduled to arrive on September 20, 2019 and May 29, 2020, respectively. The Mouse House further announced 2020 release release dates for a pair of movies that are gearing up to begin production later this year. Specifically, the studio revealed Steven Spielberg's West Side Story musical remake will open on December 18, 2020, followed by the release of the live-action Cruella de Vil origin story film Cruella (starring Emma Stone as a younger version of the 101 Dalmatians villain) five days later, on December 23.
Ad Astra was directed by James Gray (The Lost City of Z) and stars Brad Pitt as an army engineer who sets out to learn why his father disappeared on a space mission to discover extra-terrestrial life, some years before. The film has long been viewed as a potential awards contender based on its premise and creatives, so its previous late May release date was always a bit of a curiosity. Ad Astra was also scheduled to go up directly against Disney's live-action Aladdin that month, which makes its delay all the less surprising in the wake of Disney's Fox purchase. As it stands, Ad Astra will instead attempt to succeed as counter-programming to both Sylvester Stallone's Rambo: Last Blood and the Downton Abbey movie, when it arrives in September.
Artemis Fowl, for its part, should also benefit from the delay. The film was previously scheduled to open against big projects like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and The Kitchen comic book adaptation this August, so it wasn't necessarily in an ideal position to thrive. Now, however, it's become the first movie to claim a spot over the 2020 Memorial holiday weekend frame, and has a better shot at breaking out commercially. It's far from a guaranteed success (given the Artemis Fowl books peaked in popularity several years ago), but with Kenneth Branagh directing and the Mouse House behind its marketing, the fantasy adventure has a good deal working in its favor for the time being.
- Ad Astra (2019) release date: Sep 20, 2019
- Artemis Fowl (2020) release date: May 29, 2020
- West Side Story (2020) release date: Dec 18, 2020