Artemis Fowl may not be the last theatrical title that skips cinemas completely and goes straight to Disney+. In a recent interview with Barron’s, Disney’s Bob Iger hinted that other films may follow suit and premiere directly on the streaming platform, which is currently starved for new content.
“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,” Iger said. “In some cases we’ve announced new ones already, but later on in the calendar.”
It’s important to note that Iger specifically indicates that the studio still plans to hold out for theatrical releases for its major blockbusters, so don’t expect to see titles like Mulan or Black Widow debuting on Disney+ anytime soon. We already know some of the new release dates, as Disney put out a reshuffled schedule last week that included major changes like bumping the Dwayne Johnson / Emily Blunt adventure Jungle Cruise from this summer to July of 2021. Iger also points out that some titles were released on Disney+ earlier than originally planned due to the coronavirus pandemic and the need to keep subscribers engaged with the platform.
“In some cases we’ve moved things onto Disney+ faster than we would have,” he said. “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+.”
It’s interesting to speculate what films Disney may choose to premiere on their streaming service. The long-delayed superhero film The New Mutants was originally scheduled to hit theaters this past weekend, but was taken off the schedule last month, and it’s been rumored that it might bow on either Disney+ or Hulu. Read more about Disney’s updated release schedule here.