Disney Reschedules Several Films to Debut At-Home and in Theaters

The decision comes a few months after Warner Bros. moved their full 2021 slate to HBO Max.

Disney's Cruella
Images courtesy of Disney.

While movie theaters begin their slow rebound from the pandemic, many Hollywood studios are showing that they aren’t quite ready to debut their major releases exclusively in theaters.  Disney rescheduled the release of several highly-anticipated films and announces that some will premiere jointly on Disney Plus.  This decision comes three months after Warner Bros. announced their full 17-film slate for 2021 would premiere on HBO Max.  

The Films Affected

Most notably, Scarlett Johansson’s “Black Widow” and Emma Stone’s “Cruella” will premiere on Disney Plus the same day they hit theaters.  “Black Widow” has been rescheduled from May 7 to July 9, while “Cruella” is still slated for May 28.  Both will command a $30 “Premier Access” fee to watch.  

Additionally, Disney-Pixar’s animated film “Luca” will skip theaters entirely and premiere exclusively on Disney Plus.  Earlier in the pandemic, Disney’s live-action “Mulan” remake also ditched theaters in favor of streaming.  While “Mulan” also commanded a premiere fee for viewing, “Luca” will be available at no additional charge.  

However, Disney doesn’t plan on ditching theaters entirely.  Several of their smaller titles have been rescheduled but will premiere solely in theaters.  This includes “Free Guy” (Aug. 13), “The King’s Man” (Dec. 22), and “Deep Water” (Jan. 14th, 2022).  Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is also expected to have a traditional theatrical release on September 3rd.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek has suggested that the company will continue this experiment with same-day stream releases for now.  While there is optimism that theaters will make a big comeback, capacity limits will make it difficult for big-budget movies to turn a profit.  Marvel movies, for example, normally cost over $200 million to produce, betting heavily on ticket sales from sold-out theaters.  


As the landscape of moviegoing drastically changes, many in the industry question the future of theatrical releases.  Are movie theaters on their way out in favor of streaming?  Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments section below!  

For more entertainment news, check out this article highlighting six Black creators that are making waves in the industry.

Disney's Cruella
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