With movie theaters across the country shut down due to coronavirus and more people than ever at home, movie studios are shifting plans and meeting audiences where they’re at – in their living rooms.
Universal was the first to announce that films set to premiere in theaters would be made available on-demand without the theatrical window. Films including Universal’s The Hunt and The Invisible Man, and Focus Features’ Emma all made an early streaming debut.
Disney joined others with an early streaming release plan. Frozen 2 made its way to Disney+ on March 15, months ahead of schedule. Onward was next. The film was in theaters at the beginning of the pandemic. Disney quickly made the film available to rent and buy online, before sending the film to Disney+.
Bob Iger, now the executive chairman at Disney, recently had an interview with Barron’s, during which he commented on the ongoing strategy Disney will be taking for delivering content during coronavirus.
“There are some we’ve decided to put on Disney+. We already announced one, Artemis Fowl, that would have been released in theaters. Others we’ve simply delayed. In some cases we’ve moved things onto Disney+ faster than we would have. Frozen 2 was one of them, but Onward would be the biggest example. It was in theaters when this happened. We moved to a pay-per-view period for a couple of weeks where people could buy it and own it. And then we ended up putting it on Disney+,” Iger said when asked about films already in production.
“In terms of movies going ahead after Artemis, there may be a few more that we end up putting directly onto Disney+, but for the most part a lot of the big tentpole Disney films, we’ll simply wait for slots. In some cases we’ve announced new ones already, but later on in the calendar.”
While no specific titles were mentioned as potentially going straight to streaming after Artemis Fowl, there has been talk of The New Mutants going to Hulu after being postponed again due to the pandemic.
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