Last week, Disney updated its release schedule, including new dates for nearly every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie and pushing back Indiana Jones 5 an entire year. Harrison Ford will be 80 years old when it comes out. The company also announced that Artemis Fowl, a $125 million adaptation of Eoin Colfer’s novel, is going straight to Disney+, where it will rest alongside Mr. Boogedy and junk like Beauty and the Beast. That might not be the only upcoming Disney movie to be released straight on the streaming service, according to Disney executive chairman and former-CEO Bob Iger.
“There are some we’ve decided to put on Disney+. We already announced one, Artemis Fowl, that would have been released in theaters. Others we’ve simply delayed. In some cases we’ve moved things onto Disney+ faster than we would have,” Iger told Barrons, referring to Frozen 2 and Onward, among others. He continued, “In terms of movies going ahead after Artemis, there may be a few more that we end up putting directly onto Disney+, but for the most part a lot of the big tentpole Disney films, we’ll simply wait for slots. In some cases we’ve announced new ones already, but later on in the calendar.”
What direct-to-Disney+ movies could Iger be referring to? Nothing from the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Pixar, obviously; Mulan, Jungle Cruise, and Cruella are almost certainly off-limits, too. Maybe The One and Only Ivan, a live-action/CGI hybrid starring Bryan Cranston, Sam Rockwell, Angelina Jolie, and Danny DeVito that I’ve never heard of until now, or Raya and the Last Dragon, which actually sounds good. Then there’s The New Mutants, the most cursed movie in existence. A deal would have to be reached between Disney and HBO for the frequently-delayed X-Men universe spin-off to come out on Disney+, hough, at this point, I would watch it in 10-minute chunks on Quibi.
Disney+ may benefit from further delays with the studio's theatrical releases as more movies may be going directly to the streaming service in the future. This, according to former Disney CEO and current Executive Chairman Bob Iger. It was recently revealed that Artemis Fowl will debut on Disney+ sometime this year, skipping a theatrical release. As Iger explains, that may not be the only title to make the move from theatrical to streaming, but don't expect to see it happen with the studio's upcoming tentpole releases.
Given what's going on in the world right now, most movie theaters are shut down entirely and virtually all major releases through June have been delayed. Some have wondered if Disney might put movies like Black Widow or Mulan on Disney+ instead. While that won't be happening, Bob Iger isn't ruling out other movies making the shift. Here's what Iger had to say about it in a recent interview.
'There are some we've decided to put on Disney+. We already announced one, Artemis Fowl, that would have been released in theaters. Others we've simply delayed. In some cases we've moved things onto Disney+ faster than we would have. Frozen 2 was one of them, but Onward would be the biggest example. It was in theaters when this happened.'
'We moved to a pay-per-view period for a couple of weeks where people could buy it and own it. And then we ended up putting it on Disney+. In terms of movies going ahead after Artemis, there may be a few more that we end up putting directly onto Disney+, but for the most part a lot of the big tentpole Disney films, we'll simply wait for slots. In some cases we've announced new ones already, but later on in the calendar.'
There is a lot to unpack here. Black Widow and several other delayed movies were recently given new release dates as Disney reshuffled its 2020/2021 calendar. Black Widow and other big-budget tentpoles stand to make far more money in theaters, even with a relatively uncertain future ahead, than they could possibly generate via streaming. So putting movies like them directly on Disney+ doesn't make that much business sense.
In the meantime, taking riskier projects such as Artemis Fowl and giving Disney+ subscribers something flashy and exclusive is helpful. But what other movies might fit the bill for streaming debuts? The New Mutants perhaps? Whatever the case, as Bob Iger points out, the studio is content to wait until things return to normal. Disney, more than any other studio in Hollywood, is capable of raking in big dollars at the box office. So this truly isn't that surprising.
Other studios, on the other hand, may see value in doing a VOD/Digital release. Universal kicked that door wide open a couple of weeks back by putting recent releases such as The Invisible Man and The Hunt online. Trolls: World Tour, which was destined for theaters, will arrive digitally this month. Disney has not yet set a premiere date for Artemis Fowl, but it's...