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Disney To Release Remaining 2021 Film In Theatrical-Exclusive Premieres

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Disney To Release Remaining 2021 Film In Theatrical-Exclusive Premieres

Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) announced Friday its remaining releases for 2021 will go into release in theatrical-exclusive presentations and not in a simultaneous presentation on its Disney+ streaming service.

What Happened: The studio’s animated feature “Encanto” will hit theaters on Nov. 24 and will be available on the big screen for 30 days before its Disney+ premiere. The studio’s other films — “The Last Duel” (scheduled for Oct. 15), “Ron’s Gone Wrong” (Oct. 22), “Eternals” (Nov. 5), “West Side Story” (Dec. 10) and “The King’s Man” (Dec. 22) — will have a 45-day window between their theatrical premieres and their Disney+ debuts.

The studio did not say whether it would extend this strategy into 2022.

Related Link: Did Disney Dis Trump In Hall Of Presidents Placement?

Why It Happened: Disney received an unprecedented public rebuke from the National Association of Theater Owners for its simultaneous theatrical and streaming release of “Black Widow,” with the trade group complaining that the heavily-anticipated film experienced a “surprising 41% second-day drop, a weaker than expected opening weekend, and a stunning second weekend collapse in theatrical revenues.”

Scarlett Johansson sued Disney in July claiming her “Black Widow” contract linked her compensation to the film’s theatrical box office release. The studio simultaneously released the films in theaters and on its Disney+ streaming service, which Johansson claimed diluted her earning potential.

While Disney continued with that strategy in its next big release, “Jungle Cruise” without any criticism from the exhibitor industry, it opted to go the theatrical-only route with the openings of “Free Guy” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”

“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,” said Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

Photo: Scene from "Encanto," opening Nov. 24, courtesy of Disney.

 

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