Domestic theaters just received the opposite of a bad late-Friday news dump. Per IndieWire sources, Disney informed them of their long-awaited decision on length of theater exclusivity for their next wave of releases. It suggests the initial success of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” did exhibition’s cause some good.
Five of their next six titles, including Marvel’s “Eternals,” all of which are set to open during the rest of 2021, will not reach Disney+ or Hulu until 45 days after their theatrical release. Their animated “Encanto,” opening at Thanksgiving, will reach the streaming platform after 30 days.
That’s close to as much as theaters could hope for. Most films, irrespective of performance, have hit home availability by 45 days. Disney, Warner Bros., and Universal all have had some with same day release on various platforms, with Universal and other companies regularly going to Premium VOD after three weeks.
Of note, four of the six films come from their stockpile of 20th Century Fox productions. Because of deals they inherited, these titles give Disney less flexibility. But these dates show that they have enough to add to their streaming platform, even at 45 days.
“Encanto” will hit Disney+ just before Christmas, the ideal time for maximizing its response. Last year, Universal released “The Croods: A New Age” to PVOD, also a Thanksgiving release, to PVOD for the holiday to apparent significant viewing.
Exhibitors were not told whether the Disney+ showings will be free for subscribers or premium. IndieWire is reaching out to Disney to clarify whether these windows preclude separate PVOD play — Disney describes the window before Disney+. But theaters initially are assuming that this will be the window for all alternative home availability.
30 Day Window before Disney+
45 Day Window before Disney+
10/15 The Last Duel
10/22 Ron’s Gone Wrong
12/10 West Side Story
12/22 The King’s Man
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