As the summer movie season inches closer, movie studios have had some calculated decisions to make. To release its big-budget films (finally) amidst unknown circumstances, drop them on streaming platforms or stick it out and push them back… yet again. Walt Disney Studios has just made its next move. Black Widow has been pushed back two months, and new release plans have been given to highly-anticipated upcoming Disney movies including Cruella, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Free Guy.
The Emma Stone-led live action movie Cruella will still come to theaters on May 28, but it will also become available on the same day on Disney+ with Premier Access, according to a Disney press release. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on the other hand has moved from July to September 3, with Black Widow nabbing its original July 9 date.
Instead of Free Guy coming out in late May, the video game-themed movie starring Ryan Reynolds is now scheduled for a theatrical release date for August 13 of this year. Additionally, The King’s Man has been moved from August 20 to December 22, 2021. The Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas thriller Deep Water will now come out on January 14, 2022 instead of this August and Death on the Nile is coming next February 11, instead of this September.
Notably, Jungle Cruise is staying put for this July 30 and Chloe Zhao’s Marvel project Eternals is still ready for this November 5. The new shifts will give Cruella a shot to lead Disney’s summer box office season with about a month unopposed by any other Disney-owned film. Marvel’s first theatrical release in two years, Black Widow, will come in the heart of the summer. Each will follow Raya and the Last Dragon with a day and date premium streaming release.
Raya and the Last Dragon opened at the top of March in theaters along with a $30 price option for Disney+ subscribers to watch it at home. The movie has made $71.2 million worldwide after three weekends in theaters just as more theaters across the country begin to reopen, including a ramp up for major theatrical markets, New York City and Los Angeles. Disney fans will now get the option to return to theaters or stick to streaming for the studio’s next live-action reimagining, Cruella.
It has not been announced whether late summer releases Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings or Free Guy will come exclusively to theaters or follow the Disney+ Premier Access format. Disney is going one move at a time, and that decision will likely follow Cruella and other the commercial performance of summer movie releases in theaters vs. streaming – along with how the global pandemic progresses this summer.
It’s a bummer we’ll have to wait longer for these Disney films, but the shifts may give more people to chance to see them on the big screen. If you can believe it, Death on the Nile’s original release date was in December 2019. Check out the full 2021 release schedule here on CinemaBlend.