Walt Disney Co is all set to release Eternals, West Side Story and the rest of its 2021 films exclusively in theaters before sending them to streaming, it said on Friday.
The company had experimented during the pandemic with debuting some movies on the Disney+ streaming service at the same time they ran in theaters.
Cinema operators have been closely watching how Disney, which has dominated movie box offices in recent years, would handle its upcoming slate as the Delta variant slowed audiences’ return to multiplexes.
Disney said in a statement that animated musical Encanto will play in theaters for 30 days starting Nov. 24 and head to Disney+ just before Christmas. The film tells the story of a family who live in a magical house in the mountains of Colombia. It includes music written by “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.
All other Disney releases, including Marvel movie Eternals in November and Steven Spielberg’s revival of West Side Story in December.
Disney’s most recent film, Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, just set a Labour Day weekend record with $94.7 million in ticket sales at US and Canadian theaters. The film, featuring a predominantly Asian cast including Simu Liu and Awkwafina, played only at cinemas. - Reuters
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