Disney may have ruled out day-and-date releases for the rest of its 2021 slate of movies, but the studio hasn’t taken them off the table completely.
“We’re sticking with our plan of flexibility,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said in the company’s recent Q4 earnings call (via Collider). “We’re still unsure in terms of how the marketplace is going to react when family films come back with a theatrical first window.”
Disney titles that have premiered in theaters and on Disney Plus this year include Raya and the Last Dragon, Cruella, Jungle Cruise, and Black Widow. However, the latter prompted a lawsuit from the movie’s star, Scarlett Johansson, back in July. The actor claimed that the studio violated her contract with the movie’s hybrid release.
“While COVID will be in the rearview mirror, God willing, I think change in consumer behavior will be more permanent,” Chapek added. “We’re watching very, very carefully different types of movies to see how the different components of the demographics of that market come back.”
However, he did acknowledge that the window between movies releasing in theaters and arriving on Disney Plus was now much smaller. “You’ll notice that the films we are putting into the marketplace that are theatrical and are family films have a fairly short window,” he said. “We’re doing that so we can get our films quicker to Disney Plus, but at the same time, see if the theatrical market can kick back into full gear as we prime the pump with these films.”
The next Disney movie to hit the big screen will be Encanto on November 24. In the meantime, check out our list of the best movies on Disney Plus that you can stream right now.
I’m an Entertainment Writer at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections – I help bring you all the latest news and the occasional feature, too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.