Don’t expect to stream Disney’s next movies at home as soon as they become available. The Verge reports that Disney has announced that all of its remaining 2021 films will hit theaters first, including the robotic animated comedy Ron’s Gone Wrong (October 22nd), the Marvel blockbuster Eternals (November 5th) and a new one Adaptation of West Side Story (December 10th). ).
Outside of the animated musical Encanto (November 24th), which has a 30-day window, all films will have a “minimum” 45-day theatrical run time before being available elsewhere. Disney didn’t say when you could expect on-demand versions of these titles, be it on Disney + or competing services.
This is in part a response to the relatively heavy theatrical releases of summer extravagances like Free Guy and Shang-Chi. While COVID-19 was still hurting checkout numbers (Shang-Chi’s $ 75.5 million opening pale compared to multiple Disney releases in 2019), the revenue could be enough to warrant a return to pre-pandemic distribution.
It is also about appeasing key factions. Disney said it has a way to fairly pay talent for hybrid theatrical and digital releases, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow lawsuit plays a role in considering Disney + launches. The company may not want to risk further problems with actors and others whose income depends on the theatrical performance. And then there are the theaters themselves. When chains like AMC promised to pull Universal films even if many locations were closed, Disney may not be ready to provoke a similar confrontation when theaters resume business.
This and Warner Bros. ‘ The return to theaters in 2022 supports the expectations of many cynics – that studios saw streaming access from day one as a temporary necessity that would go away once it was reasonably safe to watch on big screens. It’s not entirely shocking if the movie industry’s business model is still centered around the cinema, but fundamental policy changes may not materialize for a long, long time.
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