Disney canceled the theatrical release of the 4K version of The Empire Strikes Back after negotiations with theater chains fell through.
Disney canceled the theatrical release of the 4K version of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. Disney announced plans to release the film in the U.K. back in June, setting up The Empire Strikes Back to be the first Star Wars film to be shown theatrically in 4K. Previously, the 4K remasters of the original trilogy were only available on Blu Ray and Disney+.
Variety reports the 4K theatrical release of the classic film has been canceled. The cancellation came as a consequence of negotiations between Disney and theater exhibitors, like Vue Cinemas, falling through within the last few weeks. However, Disney still intends to release the standard version of The Empire Strikes Back theatrically. Fans of the film, largely considered to be the best in the series, will still be able to see the adventures of Luke, Han, and Leia on the big screen.
This news comes as many theater chains continue to push back their reopening. U.K. cinemas were originally reopening in June, but the coronavirus pandemic continues to throw a monkey wrench in many exhibitors’ plans. With the delay of major releases like Tenet and Mulan, theater chains have become warier about reopening without the safety net of a new tent-pole film. If these theaters continue to delay their openings to be closer to the dates of big new releases, the need to show older films like The Empire Strikes Back will become less and less necessary.