Just when it looked like the studios were reverting to a theatrical window exit model with today’s news of the Regal and Warner Bros deal, Disney shattered that to pieces.
Disney said on Tuesday it was opening its two photos of key summer events Cruella and Marvel’s Black Widow simultaneously in theaters and on Disney + with Premier Access (which is typically $ 30 per additional purchase for subscribers) in most Disney + markets on Friday May 28 and Friday July 9, respectively. It has also shifted the release dates of five other films.
Just as the good news spread for the reopening of Los Angeles and New York, the moves are a sign that the # 1 studio doesn’t trust the show just yet.
Disney tried this recently with Raya and the last dragon poor box office results ($ 23.4 million in the first three weekends), and in this morning’s press release he states that the film was a “hit” for them without substantiating their affirmation by numbers. Cinemark along with other exhibitors refused to play Raya given Disney’s rigid contract with them; by the studio bringing their two most prized photos to Disney + as well as theaters, it really twists exhibitors’ arms. Oy. How could an exhibition refuse to play such titles?
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By the way, Deadline first told you that Cruella was heading to Disney +, although on Disney Investor Day CEO Bob Chapek mentioned he was destined to go to the theater.
At the same time, Disney declared its summer film Pixar Luca will air exclusively in Disney + homes around the world on June 18, which the studio did with Pixar Soul at Christmas. In international markets where Disney + is not yet available, Luca will hit theaters, with premiere dates to be announced.
If we all closely listed Chapek recently, it was clear that he was pointing to a theatrical-Disney + exit strategy for photos like Black Widow.
Even before that happened today, a rival distribution manager predicted that Disney would “keep experimenting; they need to feed the beast ”- beast, ie Disney +. The advantage of the Disney + Premier Access versions for Disney? They can keep 100% of the money. There is no division of the grosses as is the case with theaters. One million purchases of Black Widow or Cruella at $ 30 each translates to $ 30 million. End of the story.
The other factor to consider here at Disney is avoiding a cold-blooded theatrical outing of Black Widow and Cruella is that most international theater markets outside of Asia are closed. Europe is not fully back online, and neither is Latin America. It will take time.
“Today’s announcement reflects our goal of providing choice for consumers and responding to changing public preferences. By leveraging a flexible distribution strategy in a dynamic market that is beginning to recover from the global pandemic, we will continue to use the best options to bring The Walt Disney Company’s unparalleled storytelling to fans and families around the world ” Kareem Daniel, president, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, said in a statement.
Here are all of the theatrical release date changes Disney announced today:
Black Widow July 9, 2021 (from May 7, 2021)
Guy gratuit August 13, 2021 (from May 21, 2021)
Shang Chi and the legend of the ten rings September 3, 2021 (from July 9, 2021)
The king’s man December 22, 2021 (from August 20, 2021)
Deep waters January 14, 2022 (from August 13, 2021)
Death on the Nile February 11, 2022 (from September 17, 2021)