When does an unprecedented phenomenon become precedented?
Where once the idea of major studios eschewing theatrical film releases was unthinkable, COVID-19 has forced all of them to adjust. Angelina Jolie’s newest movie, fantasy drama The One and Only Ivan, is the latest to follow that path. The film is to be released exclusively on Disney+ this August 21st in lieu of any multiplex screenings. Unlike many pics (Black Widow, No Time to Die, you know the names) affected by the pandemic though, this represents only a minor delay, as the new premiere date is just one week after its original slate.
For those unfamiliar with the plot, The One and Only Ivan will see Jolie, along with Sam Rockwell, Danny DeVito and Helen Mirren provide voices to a group of animals that find themselves locked in a mall cage. But the animals have no memory of how they came to be there. And you wonder why I don’t write plot synopses for a living (best I could do I’m afraid).
Though the disruption the pandemic has caused to the film industry has been immense, there’s an element of serendipity about the timing. The last year has seen Hollywood’s major players finally establish themselves in the streaming market.
Disney launched their in-house service Disney+ last November, while Warner launched HBO Max in May. Those services have provided a vital alternative for movie distribution while cinemas are shut, without which who knows what would’ve happened to the content backlog. If the pandemic had struck 5 years ago, or even 1, their position would’ve been considerably weaker.
Think you’ll be checking out The One and Only Ivan this August, though? If you’ve got any thoughts of your own, leave a comment below.