Once COVID-19 brought the theatrical experience to a halt, we’ve seen movies that were once destined for theaters debut on a streaming service instead. It remains to be seen when theaters will fully reopen, but it likely won’t be anytime soon, so I would imagine that most studios are looking at which films they can pivot towards a streaming debut instead.
Well, Deadline has reported that Disney have been looking at a number of their upcoming films and are considering moving them away from a theatrical release and towards the Disney+ streaming service instead. The films Disney are considering switching to Disney+ are said to be Craig Gillespie’s CRUELLA starring Emma Stone and Emma Thompson, Robert Zemeckis’ PINOCCHIO starring Tom Hanks, and David Lowery’s PETER PAN AND WENDY, which features Yara Shahidi (Grown-ish) as Tinker Bell. Each of these films were developed with a theatrical release in mind, but these are crazy times we’re living in. It’s important to note that nothing has been decided just yet, but considering how successful the releases of HAMILTON and MULAN were for Disney+, we likely haven’t seen the last of big-screen movies debuting on the service. Disney has also experimented with several methods of release on the service throughout the year; while MULAN required an additional charge for subscribers, the upcoming Pixar film SOUL will be available for free to Disney+ subscribers.
This news comes just a day after it was revealed that Warner Bros. would be releasing WONDER WOMAN 1984 in theaters and on HBO Max in the United States. Although it’s been the pandemic that has forced studios to make these kinds of changes, I would imagine that some will be here to stay even once the pandemic has subsided. Production on CRUELLA wrapped up last year, and at the moment, the film is still slated for a May 28, 2021 release. Production on PINOCCHIO and PETER PAN AND WENDY hasn’t yet begun, so even if they do eventually land on Disney+, we’re still a ways off from seeing those films.