Why The French Dispatch has been postponed to October

We’ll have to wait a little longer for Wes Anderson’s new release.

by Douglas Greenwood
06 April 2020, 9:56am

Everyday we’re out here searching for a sliver of serotonin to get us through the day. Maybe it was the arrival of Lady Gaga’s Chromatica (Tough! That’s been delayed), or the promise of a summer of music festivals (Glastonbury; Primavera Sound; Coachella) to look forward to! Well, we come bearing a little bit more bad news: Wes Anderson’s latest feature The French Dispatch is the latest hotly anticipated project in a long line of albums, movies and events to get postponed as a result of coronavirus.

Set in a fictional 20th century city that closely resembles Paris, The French Dispatch is a vignette movie that focuses on the French outlet of a famed American newspaper, telling three separate stories of the characters that featured in its literary pages. It’s said to be inspired by Wes’ love of The New Yorker, has been called “a love letter to journalists”, and stars everybody from i-D cover star Timothée Chalamet to Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Lea Seydoux and Benicio del Toro.

Wes’ latest full-length feature -- the 10th in his filmography -- was slated to debut in the US on 24th July before arriving on UK shores in August, but the mass scramble to rejig the whole movie calendar post-pandemic has meant that another Disney feature Mulan, which was originally meant to arrive back in March, has taken its slot instead. The French Dispatch is now set to be release 16 October.

You might be wondering, if one film is taking that slot, why the whole Disney conglomerate (who now owns 20th Century Pictures, Wes’ preferred distributor) is holding back one of their most anticipated features for a few months. Well, long story short, the vast majority of the promotional run for Mulan had been completed before theatres shut down around the globe. The French Dispatch, however, hasn’t even started its promotion run, so they’d have to somehow scramble together magazine covers, premieres, TV interviews from behind closed doors. Holding it back might seem unfair right now, but imagine all the Timmy content coming our way instead!

There’s also the small matter of where the film was heavily rumoured to launch: at the Cannes Film Festival. Now slated for later in the summer, that means it could still have its big, dazzling, star-studded premiere before it arrives in theatres. It also edges us ever closer to awards season (not another one?!). Maybe, in such a strange year for moviemakers, this might be another chance for Wes Anderson to earn the Best Picture statuette he so rightly deserves.

Wes Anderson
Timothée Chalamet
the french dispatch