Disney delays ‘Mulan’ release again as virus cases surge

Disney has delayed the release of ‘Mulan’ again, this time until mid-August. File/AFP
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Updated 28 June 2020

Disney delays ‘Mulan’ release again as virus cases surge

LOS ANGELES: Disney has delayed the release of “Mulan” again, this time until mid-August, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to threaten blockbusters that Hollywood hoped would bring audiences back to theaters after months of lockdown.

“Mulan,” a mega-budget live action remake of the tale of a legendary Chinese warrior, had already been delayed once, to July 24. It will now launch on August 21, a statement from Disney said Friday – though the company warned of the need to be “flexible” in the process.

“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,” said a statement from Walt Disney Studios co-chairmen Alan Bergman and Alan Horn.

“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 decision comes after Warner Bros. pushed back the launch of another big summer film, Christopher Nolan's “Tenet,” – a thriller about an agency trying to ward off World War III – to mid-August.

Warner Bros. also noted the need to be “flexible” as it announced the delay.

In April, Disney delayed the releases of more than a dozen major films, including eagerly awaited Marvel movies “Black Widow” and “The Eternals,” as well as the latest “Thor” and “Doctor Strange” sequels, as COVID-19 shuttered theaters around the world.

The decision at the time to launch “Mulan” in July was seen as a note of optimism that North American movie theatres would still be able to open in May or June, with social distancing measures in place.


 


In Lebanon, single-concert festival serenades empty ruins

Updated 05 July 2020

In Lebanon, single-concert festival serenades empty ruins

  • The Baalbek International Festival was streamed live on television and social media
  • The night kicked off with the Lebanese philharmonic orchestra and choir performing the national anthem

BEIRUT: A philharmonic orchestra performed to spectator-free Roman ruins in east Lebanon Sunday, after a top summer festival downsized to a single concert in a year of economic meltdown and pandemic.
The Baalbek International Festival was instead streamed live on television and social media, in what its director called a message of “hope and resilience” amid ever-worsening daily woes.
The night kicked off with the Lebanese philharmonic orchestra and choir performing the national anthem, followed by Carmina Burana’s “O Fortuna,” a 13th century poem set to music.

The program, which ran for just over an hour, included a mix of classical music and rock and folk tunes by composers ranging from Beethoven to Lebanon’s Rahbani brothers.
Held in the open air and conducted by Harout Fazlian, the 150 musicians and chorists were scattered inside the illuminated Temple of Bacchus, as drones filmed them among the enormous ruins and Greco-Roman temples of Baalbek.
Festival director Nayla de Freige told AFP most artists performed for free at the designated UNESCO World Heritage site.
The concert aimed to represent “a way of saying that Lebanon does not want to die. We have an extremely productive and creative art and culture sector,” she said.
“We want to send a message of civilization, hope and resilience.”
Baalbek itself became a militia stronghold during Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war, but conservation and tourism have revived the ruins over the past three decades.
Lebanon is known for its summer music festivals, which have in past years drawn large crowds every night and attracted performers like Shakira, Sting and Andrea Bocelli.
Other festivals have not yet announced their plans for this year.
Lebanon has recorded just 1,873 cases of COVID-19, including 36 deaths.
But measures to stem the spread of the virus have exacerbated the country’s worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
Since economic woes in the autumn sparked mass protests against a political class deemed irretrievably corrupt, tens of thousands have lost their jobs or part of their income, and prices have skyrocketed.
Banks have prevented depositors from withdrawing their dollar savings, while the local currency has lost more than 80 percent of its value to the greenback on the black market.