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The Walt Disney Company DIS recently announced that its remaining 2021 slate of films will be released exclusively in theaters before being released on the Disney+ streaming platform.
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Charm will release on Nov 24 with a 30-day exclusive theatrical window before appearing on Disney+ on Christmas Eve. The rest of the slate will each have a 45-day theatrical release window including The Last Duel (Oct 15), Ron’s Gone Wrong (Oct 22), Eternals (Nov 5), West Side Story (Dec 10), and The King’s Man (Dec 22).
Besides, Disney revealed that Marvel Studios has blocked off four release dates throughout 2024, Feb 16, May 3, Jul 26, and Nov 8. While movies scheduled for release on these dates have not been officially announced, Fantastic Four reboot, Blade and Deadpool 3 could be contenders as they are already in various stages of production.
Disney’s Cinema-First Release Strategy Builds Hopes for Theater Chains
Disney appears confident that consumers are ready to return to cinemas and that the future of its blockbuster features is on the big screen, despite COVID-19 spikes caused by the Delta variant. Theater chains including AMC Entertainment AMC, Cineworld Plc, and Cinemark Holdings Inc CNK are counting on the big fall and winter releases to attract customers back.
Disney’s decision follows the successful 45-day theater-first releases of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Free Guy. Shang-Chi topped $71.4 million in its Labor Day weekend release, the second-biggest opening haul for films released theatrically during the pandemic while Free Guy, from Disney’s 20th Century Studios, contractually obligated to be released only in theaters, has grossed $239.2 million globally.
Although the entertainment giant chose to release a series of big productions such as Black Widow, Jungle Cruise, and Cruella on its Disney+ platform simultaneously, the upcoming slate of releases beyond 2021 is encouraging for traditional theater owners.
Although Spider-Man: No Way Home was not included in this list, it will also likely have an exclusive theatrical release.
Among the new movie release dates recently announced, Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley has moved to a wide release on Dec 17 from Dec 3. The Bob’s Burgers Movie, based on the animated television series of the same name, will release on May 27, 2022 while Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid will debut in theaters on May 26, 2023.
Other major studios have been closely watching this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company to determine whether they should also resume in-theater debuts. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
AT&T’s T WarnerMedia owned Warner Bros inked a deal with AMC earlier this month for a 45-day theatrical window in 2022. It had previously signed a similar agreement with Cineworld. Universal Pictures and its Focus Features were the first to deal, agreeing to a 17-day exclusive theatrical window with AMC back in July 2020.
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