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Disney Announces Blockbuster Movies Will Release on Streaming and in Theaters

Photo from BLACK WIDOW’s Instagram

Disney Announces Blockbuster Movies Will Release on Streaming and in Theaters

By Movieguide® Staff

Although studios and exhibitors were hopeful for a swift return to the traditional theatrical releases in 2021, Disney’s recent announcement indicates a continuation of day-to-date releases on streaming.

The company announced date changes for its two summer blockbusters, CRUELLA and Marvel’s BLACK WIDOW.  

“Disney said Tuesday that it is opening both of its key summer events pics Cruella and Marvel’s Black Widow simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access (which is usually $30 a purchase extra for subscribers) in most Disney+ markets on Friday, May 28 and Friday, July 9, respectively. It also shifted release dates on five other films,” Deadline reported

Disney also moved Pixar’s LUCA to Disney+ only.

A major studio like Disney showing hesitancy for a traditional cinematic release does not bode well for a rapid return to pre-pandemic normalcy.  

However, their creative release strategy has proven successful in pandemic terms and mirrors Warner Bros.’s deal with HBO Max. 

“Today’s 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,” Kareem Daniel, Chairman, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, said in a statement.

Consumers by-and-large enjoy the day-and-date releases.

Movieguide® previously reported

According to the THR consult poll, U.S. adults happily accepted the $13 and $17 per month cost for a streaming service that offers new blockbuster movies the same day those movies hit theaters.  

Although exhibitors and analysts questioned Warner Bros. studio’s decision to offer their theatrical releases on streaming, their strategy could become the norm for the post-pandemic box-office. 

The move could leave some studios scrambling as theater windows change and consumer habits potentially veer toward their couch rather than cinema seats.