Hollywood studio Disney announced Thursday it has postponed indefinitely the release of its China-set live-action film "Mulan" due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"Over the last few months, it's become clear that nothing can be set in stone when it comes to how we release films during this global health crisis, and today that means pausing our release plans for Mulan as we assess how we can most effectively bring this film to audiences around the world," the company said in a statement.
The upcoming epic fantasy war drama film directed by Niki Caro was first scheduled to hit U.S. theaters on March 27 but was later rescheduled to July 24, before being delayed to Aug. 21.
Based on the legend of an ancient Chinese heroine, the film is an adaptation of Disney's 1998 animated film of the same name. Mulan, according to folk legend, lived during a tumultuous era in Chinese history more than 1,400 years ago. She disguised herself as a man to serve in the army in place of her aged father and fight for her country.
The movie, which cost 200 million U.S. dollars to make, stars Liu Yifei in the title role, with Gong Li as a powerful and dangerous witch, Donnie Yen as an army commander, and Jet Li as the emperor.
The delay came days after the decision by Warner Bros. to delay the release of Christopher Nolan's original sci-fi action film "Tenet" for the third time.
AMC Theatres, the largest U.S. movie theater chain, also announced Thursday it will again postpone reopening, as the number of new COVID-19 cases is growing at an alarming rate in some states in the country. AMC said the company is currently planning to reopen its U.S. movie theatres in mid to late August.
"Tenet" and "Mulan" are set to be among the first films greeting moviegoers when cinemas reopen in the United States amid the pandemic. The two blockbusters underpin the hopes of both Hollywood and U.S. cinema owners of salvaging the usually profitable summer season.