2020 will go down in history as one of the most unusual years the movie business has ever experienced, with the Coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc with the release schedule for the vast majority of Hollywood’s blockbuster output. Marvel Studios have delayed their entire Phase Four slate, while Sony have moved several of their high-profile titles to early next year, with the likes of Mulan, No Time to Die and Fast and Furious 9 also getting pushed back.
In an effort to try and combat the huge projected loss of revenue from theaters around the world remaining closed for the foreseeable future, several studios have accelerated the home video release of some of their most recent titles in order to increase potential profits, with Vin Diesel’s Bloodshot only playing on the big screen for two weeks before becoming available for purchase.
Disney and Pixar’s Onward is another that only stayed in theaters for a cup of coffee before hitting digital, while the studio recently announced that Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Artemis Fowl was being pulled from being released theatrically altogether, and would be heading straight onto Disney Plus instead.
In a recent interview, outgoing Disney CEO Bob Iger hinted that we could see more big budget movies getting released straight onto Disney Plus, as well as the possibility of a shorter window between movies playing on the big screen before making their way to streaming.
“There are some we’ve decided to put on Disney Plus. We already announced one, Artemis Fowl, that would have been released in theaters. Others we’ve simply delayed. In some cases we’ve moved things onto Disney Plus faster than we would have… In terms of movies going ahead after Artemis, there may be a few that we end up putting directly onto Disney Plus, but for the most part a lot of the big tent-pole Disney films, we’ll simply wait for slots. In some cases we’ve announced new ones already, but later on in the calendar.”
With a hefty $125 million budget, the Mouse House can’t have been too confident about the Artemis Fowl’s chances of box office success by bypassing theaters completely. Either way, though, putting it straight onto Disney Plus helps the studio save face regardless, and maybe this method is the only way we’ll ever get to see The New Mutants anytime soon.