Let’s just call it what it is: The summer movie season is all but officially over.

While a few titles had held on to dates in mid and late July, with a couple movies to follow in August, it’s become increasingly clear that audiences will either not be able to return to theaters in a few weeks — or won’t want to for fear that they might get sick as coronavirus cases around the country have risen steadily. Yesterday, Warner Bros. moved Tenet from July 31 to August 12. And today, Disney moved its live-action remake of its animated classic Mulan from July 24 to August 21.

Here was Disney’s Alan Horn’s statement on the news, via Deadline:

While the pandemic has changed our release plans for ‘Mulan’ and we will continue to be flexible as conditions require, it has not changed our belief in the power of this film and its message of hope and perseverance. Director Niki Caro and our cast and crew have created a beautiful, epic, and moving film that is everything the cinematic experience should be, and that’s where we believe it belongs – on the world stage and the big screen for audiences around the globe to enjoy together.

The movement of the summer’s last two tentpoles caused a ripple effect through the releases of the smaller movies still hoping for their own theatrical runs in July and August. Most notably, Bill & Ted Face the Music jumped from August 14 (where it would now have to compete with Tenet) to August 28.

Of course, all these little moves assume that the situation around the country will improve next month. At this moment, there’s scant evidence available that will happen. I’m not entirely sure why you would push a movie back just a few weeks at this point, unless these studios believe there’s some chance the larger markets around the country might be open again soon — or if these constant, small moves are a good way for a steady flow of free press because any time they adjust the release calendar sites like this one have to write about them. Either way, I’m more skeptical Mulan and Tenet will open this summer now than at any other point. But I would be happy to be wrong.

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