As 2020 comes to a close, it’s pretty crazy to look back at the black hole in the middle, particularly when it comes to Disney's theatrical calendar. Last year, the House of Mouse dominated the conversation with three massive live-action remakes, alongside three chart-topping MCU entries and the final episode of Star Wars’ Skywalker Saga. And after this disappointing year for theaters, the studio is apparently contemplating moving future live-action remakes, such as Cruella, straight to its streaming platform Disney+.
In terms of Disney titles (not including its ties to 20th Century Fox), only one movie made it to theaters this year: Pixar’s Onward. The animated family film came out shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic turned it into a flop and it was shortly sent to Disney+ afterwards. The streaming service has since been the studio’s go-to all of 2020. Artemis Fowl, Hamilton, The One and Only Ivan and Mulan skipped theaters to instead debut exclusively on the streaming service domestically.
With that in mind, Disney is reportedly having discussions specifically regarding Craig Gillespie's Emma Stone-starring Cruella, Robert Zemekis and Tom Hanks’ Pinocchio, and David Lowery’s Peter Pan and Wendy. Per Deadline, “no final decision” has been made here, but it’s certainly an option being thrown out there as the studio continues to adapt, with many of its plans still not being viable due to the the pandemic not slowing down.
Disney+ just passed its one-year anniversary with approximately 73.7 million subscribers gained. In comparison, the Netflix empire with 13 years on Disney+ has 195 million paying households. Disney has not had an easy year considering it has moved a number of its big movies (like Marvel’s Black Widow and Eternals), kept Disneyland closed and let go a huge number of Disney employees. But Disney+ has picked up the slack, especially with Hamilton currently being called the most-watched streaming movie of the year.
For the time being, Cruella is expected to come out in theaters in May 2021, and Pinocchio and Peter Pan and Wendy have not been given theatrical release dates yet. Interestingly enough, on the Walt Disney Studios movie page, Cruella is not listed as one of next year’s big releases with The King’s Man, Black Widow, Jungle Cruise and West Side Story. Previously, Cruella was going to come out this December, so theoretically the movie is just sitting on the shelf right now.
If COVID-19 drags on, especially following next month's release of Soul and the MCU television show WandaVision debuting in January, Cruella could be a good choice for the studio to pull out and place on Disney+ a bit early, maybe in the spring. It’s an ever-changing situation, and CinemaBlend will keep you updated. In the meantime, Soul is dropping on Disney+ December 25.
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