The streaming landscape is evolving rapidly as the world is sitting at home due to the current coronavirus pandemic. With cinemas closed and people following social distancing, it is no surprise that platforms like Disney Plus are pushing movie releases for streaming.
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But things weren’t always the same, and they could go back to their normal routine as theaters reopened and people went to the movies once again. In this article, we’ll try to break down the release schedule in which Disney movies come to Disney Plus after theatrical release. We have taken into account examples of film releases both before and after the pandemic, so that you can get an idea of what the norm is and how things are turning out.
Disney Plus Release Schedule Pre-Pandemic
Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Disney movies typically came out on Blu-ray and DVD for a few months before moving to the streaming platform. Previously, you could find a handful of Disney movies on Netflix after their disc release, but that changed with the launch of Disney Plus last year.
Now, not only can you find your own set of Disney movies on Disney Plus, but you can also find a full list of titles from Pixar, Lucas Films, Marvel, 2th Century Fox, and more.
On Disney Plus launch, a company executive told Hollywood Reporter That Disney doesn’t plan to change any release windows to bring movies to Disney Plus sooner.
Disney usually allows a movie to run in theaters for about 90 days. Next comes the digital for paid purchases. This is followed by a Blu-ray and DVD release two or three weeks later. The film is finally ready for streaming about four months after that. However, this timeline is not set in stone at all.
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Even before the pandemic, Disney was releasing movies on Disney Plus earlier than expected. For example, Frozen 2 hit cinema screens on November 22, 2019, and was expected to release on Disney Plus sometime in June 2020. However, the film hit the streaming platform on March 14, 2020.
Similarly, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker released in theaters in December 2019 and arrived on Disney Plus in early May 2020.
But there were still some movies like Maleficent: Mistress of Evil which took a full seven months to reach Disney Plus in May 2020 after the theatrical release in October 2019.
So as you can see, it really depends on Disney when a movie should go from the silver screen to the streaming screen. In fact, Disney releases are going to be even more fluid given the pandemic situation.
read more: movies delayed due to coronavirus
Disney Plus Release Schedule Post-Pandemic
Since people are not going to theaters these days, streaming has got a big boost as production companies want to get their work done somehow. In the wake of this pandemic, Disney may also be seen staggering from its normal theatre-to-streaming schedule.
For example, the acclaimed Broadway musical Hamilton was released directly on Disney Plus, skipping a theatrical release entirely. Another Disney original, Artemis Fowl – a sci-fi fantasy based on the book series of the same name – was set to hit theaters on May 29, 2020, but was released directly on Disney Plus on June 12, 2020.
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The same happened with Mulan—a live-action adaptation of Disney’s 1998 animated film of the same name. The film was scheduled to release in theaters on March 27, 2020. Its release was then rescheduled for July 24, 2020, and finally, the film left theaters to premiere entirely on Disney Plus for a $30 fee. The film was made available on the service in December 2020 at no additional charge.
Also in December 2020, Disney decided to release its latest Pixar animated film, Soul, directly on Disney Plus in most regions. On March 5, 2021, the company will launch its latest non-Pixar animated feature, Raya the Last Dragon, directly on Disney Plus for an additional $30 fee. The film will likely be made available on the service in early 2021 without that additional charge.
That said, Disney isn’t focusing on theater releases just yet.
“We strongly believe in the value of the theatrical experience to launch blockbuster movies,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said during one. earnings call in May 2020. “We are going to evaluate each of our films on a case-by-case situation, as we are doing now, during this coronavirus situation,” he said.
So as you can tell, Disney Plus movie release dates are constantly changing. We expect things to return to the pre-pandemic release schedule once life gets back to normal, but the one thing coronavirus has taught us is that we should be prepared for surprises. It will be really interesting to see how streaming services plan the content in the near future. Disney Plus may go on the paid streaming route for some time before going back to its routine of releasing movies in theatres.
read also: Movies released early through streaming due to pandemic
In the meantime, if you haven’t subscribed to Disney Plus yet and want to become a member, you can do so by pressing the button below. Considering how fast new movies are releasing on Disney Plus these days, now might be a good time to get on board.