NEW YORK (AP) – After endless disruptions due to the pandemic and the rapid growth of streaming services, cinema may be getting a bit back to normal.
The Walt Disney Co. announced on Friday that all of their remaining films will be shown exclusively in theaters this year. These include the Marvel release “Eternals” (Nov 5), Ridley Scott’s “The Last Duel” (Oct 15), the animated release “Ron’s Gone Wrong” (Oct 22), Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story ”(Dec. 10) and the Kingsman sequel“ The King’s Man ”(December 22nd).
All films have a minimum runtime of 45 days in theaters before they are streamed. The animated fantasy “Encanto” (November 24th) will go to Disney + after 30 days.
Disney’s move comes after a year in which the studio, with a few notable exceptions such as the latest hit “Free Guy”, premiered many of its releases in both theaters and on Disney + in so-called “Day and Date” releases. These included the Marvel film Black Widow, which star Scarlett Johansson sued Disney for alleging the day-and-date approach violated her contract and robbed her of potential revenue. Disney said the release was in compliance with Johansson’s contract and called the lawsuit unfounded.
But it seems increasingly that the days, at least when it comes to Hollywood blockbusters, could be a number for day and date. Warner Bros., which has released all of its 2021 films simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max, is committed to returning to exclusive theatrical releases next year. A pandemic shift is sure to continue – shorter movie times as the once traditional 90-day window has shrunk to 45 days or less for most studios.
Disney’s strategies are particularly closely watched because of its enormous influence in the industry as the largest Hollywood studio. Disney accounted for 38% of domestic cinema attendance in 2019. But his commitment to theatrical releases was certainly a great relief for the cinema owners and a sign that something normal is returning to the cinema this fall.
During the pandemic, releases spiked by day and date as the studios set about bolstering their in-home streaming services and offsetting decreased ticket sales. Theater owners have said this sacrifices tens of millions in the box office and can put off the cultural impact of a film.
And lately, the box office declines – even during the recent coronavirus surge – have been encouraging. Disney’s “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” broke the record for Labor Day openings last weekend and earned $ 90 million over the four-day weekend. Many in the industry have viewed this as evidence of the strength of a theatrical-only release and a positive sign for the fall movie season. Sony Pictures moved forward immediately following the release of its Marvel sequel Venom: Let There Be Carnage.
“After the huge box office success of our summer films, which included five of the eight best domestic releases of the year, we’re excited to update our theatrical plans for the remainder of 2021,” said Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, in one Opinion. “As confidence in the cinema continues to grow, we look forward to entertaining audiences in the cinemas while maintaining the flexibility to give our Disney + subscribers the gift of ‘Encanto’ this Christmas season.”