Disney is reportedly considering shifting more of its planned cinematic releases to its SVOD Disney+ in a move which could have a seismic effect on an industry already on its knees.
According to a Deadline report, live action Disney classic adaptations Cruella, Pinocchio and Peter Pan and Wendy – all initially scheduled for cinematic release – could follow Soul, Clouds and Mulan in moving to streaming.
It is unclear whether the films will be made free like the former two or turned into a premium purchase like Mulan. CEO Bob Chapek previously described the ‘premiere access’ release strategy of Mulan as a one-off, but speaking during the company’s most recent earnings call, he said that “we saw enough very positive results before that controversy started to know that we’ve got something here in terms of the premier access strategy,” and that “that there’s going to be a role for it strategically with our portfolio of offerings.”
The delayed Marvel movie Black Widow was not mentioned in the article, with it being speculated that Disney could reserve theatrical releases for its tentpole superhero and IP-driven movies, while moving an increasing number of its lower-profile pictures to streaming.
Disney+ is currently at an impressive 73 million subscribers globally in just one year, but the company is looking to rapidly grow that number in order to disrupt the international hegemony of Netflix and Amazon.
The report comes after WarnerMedia announced that superhero feature Wonder Woman 1984 will not receive any further delays and instead release on HBO Max for a month from December 25 before receiving a traditional cinematic release.
With the US currently in the midst of a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic many major cities like New York and San Francisco have placed restrictions on movie-going. This has caused many distributors to either delay many film releases or shift them to streaming, an impact which has also been felt internationally in markets which may have been impacted less by the pandemic.
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