'Black Widow', 'Cruella' to debut simultaneously on Disney+ Premier Access, theatres
Washington, US: In its biggest pandemic-related streaming move, Disney has now opted to make its upcoming movies, 'Black Widow' and 'Cruella', available on its streaming service Disney+ Premier Access at the same time that the films will hit the theatres. According to The Hollywood Reporter, 'Black Widow', which was earlier slated for a May 7 release, will now be coming out on July 9. Disney+ subscribers will be able to watch it on the day of its release for an additional USD 30. Previously Disney had released 'Mulan' and 'Raya and the Last Dragon' for the same price through the Premier Access tier.
Similarly, the Emma Stone starrer 'Cruella', which is another big-budget tentpole, will debut in theatres and on Disney+ Premier Access on May 28. Meanwhile, the animated movie 'Luca' will skip big screens entirely and hit Disney+ June 18. Kareem Daniel, Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution chairman, said, "Today's announcement reflects our focus on providing consumer choice and serving the evolving preferences of audiences." He further said that "By leveraging a flexible distribution strategy in a dynamic marketplace that is beginning to recover from the global pandemic, we will continue to employ the best options to deliver The Walt Disney Company's unparalleled storytelling to fans and families around the world."
A number of major circuits, including Cinemark in the U.S., refused to carry 'Raya' because they wanted more generous terms in exchange for the film playing day-and-date. It remains to be seen whether that pattern repeats itself with 'Black Widow' and 'Cruella'. New release dates for upcoming Disney films were also revealed with Ryan Reynolds' 'Free Guy' moved to August 13, while Marvel's 'Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings' will debut on September 3.
Fans have long been awaiting the release of 'Black Widow', which was originally set to premiere in theatres in March 2020 but was pushed back several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The movie will be set after the events of 2016's 'Captain America: Civil War' and will see Natasha Romanoff on the run. Along with Scarlett Johansson, the film also stars Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz and David Harbour. As per The Hollywood Reporter, this move from Disney comes as Marvel Studios has enjoyed critical success on Disney+, with its first series 'WandaVision' earning strong reviews and its latest show, 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier', premiering last week to what Disney touted as the streaming service's biggest audience for a series premiere.