Moviegoing is slowly to rebound in the U.S., it appears Hollywood studios aren’t yet ready to release their juggernaut blockbuster films on the big screen.
All that is to say Disney has massively overhauled its upcoming slate and amended release plans for “Black Widow,” Emma Stone’s “Cruella,” “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” Pixar’s “Luca” and several others.
Its now confirmed that “Black Widow” and “Cruella” will now premiere on Disney Plus at the same time they open in theaters. “Cruella” is arriving as scheduled on May 28, while “Black Widow” has been pushed back two months and will debut on July 9 instead of May 7. Both titles will be offered on Premier Access, which comes with a $30 rental fee.
My initial thoughts is this why pay the $30.00 rental fee when you can go to the movie theaters to see it in July? I know that we have a long way to go right now, because of COVID-19 but I feel like in July if the numbers have dropped with the cases of COVID-19 and with people getting vaccinated now that July is definitely a good place to start going back to the movies.
“Black Widow’s” move means that Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” which was previously set for early July, was bumped back to Sept. 3. It’s expected to have a traditional theatrical release.
Meanwhile, Pixar’s animated coming-of-age adventure “Luca” won’t play in theaters and instead is launching exclusively on Disney Plus, at no extra cost, on June 18.
Despite the massive refocus on streaming, Disney doesn’t plan to entirely ditch theaters. Numerous smaller titles, mostly those inherited from 20th Century, have been postponed but will bow solely on the big screen, including “Free Guy” (Aug. 13), “The King’s Man”(Dec. 22), “Deep Water” (Jan. 14, 2022) and “Death on the Nile” (Feb. 11, 2022).
Kareem Daniel, the chairman of Disney Media and Entertainment distribution, says the announcement “reflects our focus on providing consumer choice and serving the evolving preferences of audiences.”
“By leveraging a flexible distribution strategy in a dynamic marketplace that is beginning to recover from the global pandemic, we will continue to employ the best options to deliver The Walt Disney Company’s unparalleled storytelling to fans and families around the world,” he said.
Earlier in the pandemic, Disney’s “Mulan” remake skipped theaters and launched on Disney Plus for a premium fee. Disney hasn’t released viewership numbers on any streaming offerings, but the company’s CEO Bob Chapek has hinted that the studio will continue to experiment with release plans as the global theatrical market remains impaired. The announcement comes days after Disney touted record (though entirely vague) viewership for the Marvel Studios TV series “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” on Disney Plus.
Variety was the first to report the news.