Walt Disney Co. on Friday announced that Eternals, West Side Story and the rest of its 2021 movies will be released exclusively in theaters before being sent to streaming, confident that movie going will pick up.
During the epidemic the company experimented with launching some movies while walking in theaters on the Disney + streaming service. Movie managers are closely watching how Disney, which has dominated the movie box office in recent years, is handling its upcoming slate as the Delta variant slows its return to multiplexes.
Disney The animated musical Encanto will play in theaters for 30 days from November 24 and will go to Disney + before Christmas, according to a statement. The film tells the story of a family living in a magical house in the mountains of Colombia. It features music written by Hamilton creator Lynn-Manuel Miranda.
The company said all other Disney releases, such as Marvel Movie Eternals in November and the Steven Spielberg West Side Story revival in December, will play exclusively in movie theaters for at least 45 days.
Disney’s latest film, Marvels Shang-Chi and Legend of the Ten Rings, set a Labor Day weekend record with $ 94.7 million in ticket sales in US and Canadian theaters. The film, starring mainly Asian cast including Simu Liu and Aquafina, only played in movie theaters.
But going to the movies per year is much lower than the pre-pandemic levels. Theater chains such as AMC Entertainment, Cine World Plc and Cinemark Holdings Inc. are counting on big fall and winter titles to lure customers back.
Disney’s other 2021 films include the historical drama The Last Duel and animated comedy Rans Gone Wrong in October, and the action spy film The Kings Man in December.