Despite the Covid-19 Delta variant spiking up in the United States, Disney has decided to take a bold step that speaks volumes about the company’s confidence and vision. Only time will tell whether this plan will be beneficial for the company or not.
On Friday, the company announced that the remainder of its films which are to be released this year, will first hit the theatres before heading to its streaming service Disney Plus Hotstar in the USA. Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution Chairman Kareem Daniel said in a statement,
“As confidence in moviegoing continues to improve, we look forward to entertaining audiences in theatres while maintaining the flexibility to give our Disney+ subscribers the gift of Encanto this holiday season.”
“Encanto” will release on Disney Plus on Christmas; it’s an animated film about a magical family in Colombia featuring music by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The film will release in theatres on the 24th of November. The best Disney movies are on the platform.
Other releases that are scheduled for this year will first be exclusively available for 45 days in theatres only and then come on Disney+. Marvel’s “Eternals” is to be released on the 5th of November in theatres. While the remake of “West Side Story” will release in theatres on the 10th of December. Other movies to be released this year include titles such as “The Last Duel,” “Ron’s Gone Wrong,” and “The King’s Man.”
In other #Disney news, the studio just announced that all the remaining movies of its 2021 slate, including #20thCenturyStudios films, will be theatrical releases only, with no #DisneyPlus, starting by #TheLastDuel on OCT 15, which will stay exclusively in theatres for 45 days
— Luiz Fernando (@Luiz_Fernando_J) September 10, 2021
Warner Bros., which has released all of its 2021 films simultaneously in theatres and on HBO Max, has pledged to revert to exclusive theatrical runs next year. One pandemic shift sure to linger — shorter theatrical runs, as the once-traditional 90-day window has shrunk to 45 days or less for most studios.
Disney’s strategies are especially closely watched because of its enormous sway in the industry as the largest Hollywood studio. Disney accounted for 38% of domestic moviegoing in 2019. But its commitment to theatrical releases was sure to be a huge relief for cinema owners and a sign of some normality returning to moviegoing this fall.
Due to the pandemic, there was a surge in people using streaming services, and as the lockdowns lasted so long, viewers became more comfortable with streaming, making it the new normal. This affected the theatre business to a huge extent, making many go out of business.
However, the bold step that Disney has decided to take might be because of the immense success of Marvel’s “Shang-Chi,” which was exclusively opened for theatres only. The film broke Labor Day’s box office, raking in $247.6 million globally in two weeks only, keeping in mind that it is Marvel’s first-ever film to have a predominantly Asian cast, along with starring an Asian-American superhero.
A lot of people viewed this successful opening at the theatre as an indicator for the revival of brick-and-mortar theatres. Many in the industry have taken that as proof of the power of a theatre-only release and a positive sign for the fall movie season. Sony Pictures immediately moved up the release of its Marvel sequel, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.”
Meanwhile, Marvel’s “Black Widow,” the much-anticipated Scarlett Johansson film released in July on both theatres and Disney Plus. Scarlett has sued Disney, claiming that the simultaneous release of her film resulted in a breach of agreement on her salary, which was based on the box office performance.
Disney: “Scarlet Johansson is being inconsiderate of the ongoing pandemic for wanting an only theatre release of Black Widow”
— kebbie (@kebbieee) September 11, 2021
Kareem Daniel also stated,
“Following the tremendous box office success of our summer films which included five of the top eight domestic releases of the year, we are excited to update our theatrical plans for the remainder of 2021.”