Disney halts The Little Mermaid and other film productions over coronavirus
After delaying the release dates for some of its biggest movie releases, Disney decided to halt production on all of its live-action films for the time being.
The includes the live-action The Little Mermaid with Halle Bailey as the lead, Marvel's Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings, the Disney+ Home Alone reboot, The Last Duel with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, and Guillermo del Toro's Nightmare Alley. Peter Pan & Wendy and Shrunk, both of which were in pre-production, have also been suspended.
"While there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our productions, after considering the current environment and the best interests of our cast and crew, we have made the decision to pause production on some of our live-action films for a short time," a spokesperson for Disney said in a statement. "We will continue to assess the situation and restart as soon as feasible.”
The Little Mermaid, directed by Rob Marshall, was set to begin filming in London next week. The film also stars Melissa McCarthy as sea witch Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Jacob Tremblay as the voice of Flounder, Awkwafina as the voice of Scuttle, and Daveed Diggs as the voice of Sebastian.
Word of Shang-Chi's delay broke previously on Thursday night. Its lead actor, Simu Liu, confirmed the news in a post on Instagram shortly after.
"Our main unit is going to take a couple days off while some people on our staff undergo precautionary testing," he wrote. "I'm super grateful to work for a company that is proactive, cautious and empathetic during this difficult time. Everyone is in good spirits as we continue to work towards making an incredible film! Stay safe out there, wash your hands, and - of course - don't be racist!"
On Thursday, Disney pulled the releases of the live-action Mulan, The New Mutants (which had already been delayed two years for other reasons), and the del Toro-produced Antlers horror film from premiering in movie theaters. This followed MGM delaying No Time to Die by several months, Universal pumping the brakes on Fast & Furious 9 for a year, and Paramount pulling A Quiet Place Part II for the foreseeable future.