Disney Studios halts production on ‘The Little Mermaid,’ ‘Shang-Chi,’ and other films

By Meg James

Tribune News Service

Walt Disney Studios has temporarily halted production of its live-action films, including “The Little Mermaid,” which was scheduled to begin shooting in London next week.

The move was targeted to limit potential spread of the coronavirus.

“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 Disney studio representative said Friday in a statement. “We will continue to assess the situation and restart as soon as feasible.”

Production of the Marvel film, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” had already ground to a halt in Australia due to fears of the COVID-19 virus spread. The film’s director, Destin Daniel Cretton, is in self-quarantine, awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test.

Disney took the extraordinary step of closing Disneyland and California Adventure beginning Saturday. Disney World in Orlando will be shuttered next week. Disney also abandoned plans for a March 27 theatrical release of its highly anticipated “Mulan.”

Disney’s television studios have continued production on a limited basis, making case by case determinations, according to a spokesman. While the virus spread is occurring during a time when most TV shows for the regular broadcast season have wrapped, the flurry of shoots to create a steady stream of programming for streaming services means that there are really no lulls in production any longer.

Other Disney films currently in production that have been shuttered include, “Home Alone,” “The Last Duel,” “Nightmare Alley.” Two films in pre-production, “Peter Pan & Wendy” and “Shrunk” also were put on hiatus.

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