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Disney Commits to Exclusive Theatrical Release Schedule

Photo from Disney’s Instagram

Disney Commits to Exclusive Theatrical Release Schedule

By Movieguide® Staff

After the success of theater exclusive SHANG-CHI: THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, Disney announced that the remainder of their 2021 movies would follow in the Marvel movie’s footsteps.

The news comes after Disney’s legal battle with a-list actor Scarlett Johannson and ridicule for its previous day-and-date strategy, releasing blockbuster movies on Disney+ and in theaters.

However, SHANG-CHI’s record-breaking Labor Day weekend performance gave the studio enough assurance that, with the right movie, audiences are ready to come back to theaters.

Upcoming movies that will now receive an exclusive theatrical release are THE LAST DUEL (Oct 15), RON’S GONE WRONG (OCT 22), ETERNALS (Nov 5), Disney Animation Studios’ ENCANTO (Nov 24), WEST SIDE STORY (Dec 10), and THE KING’S MAN (Dec 22).

ENCANTO will move to Disney+ one month after its theatrical debut.

“Following the tremendous box office success of our summer films which included five of the top eight domestic releases of the year, we are excited to update our theatrical plans for the remainder of 2021,” Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, said. “As confidence in moviegoing continues to improve, we look forward to entertaining audiences in theaters, while maintaining the flexibility to give our Disney+ subscribers the gift of Encanto this holiday season.”

CEO of AMC Entertainment Adam Aron, who has been adamant about the importance of consistent theatrical releases, responded by tweeting: “Huge Step Forward!”

Movieguide® previously reported:

AMC’s Adam Aron and National Association of Theatre Owners chief John Fithian implored attendees of CinemaCon to return to a theatrical exhibition, claiming that the hybrid strategies employed by HBO Max and Disney+ will not revive the entertainment industry.

“Exclusive release periods remain vital to the success of the theatrical business,” Fithian said. “To make one thing crystal clear that the best work that they make is made for the big screen. Leading creatives know better, and they are on the right side of history.

“Simultaneous release does not work,” Fithian added. “It doesn’t work for anyone. A steady flow of strong movies released with windows is essential to the recovery of the industry and to the profitability for the entire ecosystem.

“Exclusive release periods remain vital to the survival and success of the industry. They won’t be what they were before, but they can’t be what they were during the pandemic.”

Despite the back and forth in the debate surrounding theaters versus streamers, Disney’s commitment to a theatrical experience for the remainder of 2021 is sure to not only give audiences reasons to return but perhaps encourage other studios to follow suit.