Warner Bros recently made the ground-breaking decision to release all of its 2021 movies simultaneously through theatres and HBO Max. Disney isn’t doing anything quite so controversial, the House of Mouse will see some of its big movies skip theatres to instead become big exclusives to lure more people to Disney+.
Disney made the announcement during its Investors Day presentation this morning, revealing that its upcoming live-action remakes of Pinocchio, starring Tom Hanks and directed by Robert Zemeckis, and Peter Pan & Wendy, starring Jude Law as Captain Hook and directed by David Lowery, will be launching directly to Disney+ without hitting theatres. Considering the popularity of the characters and the star power involved, it is a rather surprising decision for Disney to take this approach.
This doesn’t mean that all of their live-action remakes will be taking this approach as The Little Mermaid remake, the 101 Dalmatians prequel Cruella, starring Emma Stone and The Lion King sequel directed by Barry Jenkins are all set to maintain theatrical releases. It’s not clear on the rationale for deciding which moves will maintain theatrical release or go straight to Disney+, though budget and contracts probably come into play here.
Meanwhile, the upcoming animated adventure, Ray and the Last Dragon, will now be taking a page out of Mulan’s book. Just like Disney did with that live-action blockbuster earlier in the year, Raya will get a simultaneous release in theatres as well as on Disney+ via their Premier Access offering. This means that an additional fee of $30 will be required for subscribers to stream the epic-looking film when it releases on 5 March 2021.
Disney has also announced a bunch of titles joining their newly minted Disney+ Originals line-up. These are all films developed exclusively for the streaming service and include Sister Act 3, with Whoopi Goldberg returning for a sequel produced by Tyler Perry; a new live-action Diary of a Wimpy Kid film reboot, and Disenchanted. The latter, being a sequel to 2007 hit Enchanted which was Oscar-nominee Amy Adams’ first big break. She will be returning to the role of Disney princess Giselle and the film feature her “happily ever after” life with Robert (Patrick Dempsey) following the events of the first movie. Although, based on the title, this new film might not be a so “happily ever after” life at all, which will be nice to see and give Disney a chance to show us a more realistic princess marriage than the ones they normally feed to children.
It’s clear Disney is diving head-on into the streaming game and with an incredible line-up of top Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars content along with big movies like these going straight to Disney+, they are likely to get a lot of interest and people subscribing. Well, that is – for those that can actually subscribe as we still don’t know when the service will be officially launching in South Africa.
Last Updated: December 12, 2020