After having launched Disney+ with the Lady and the Tramp remake and Noelle, Disney is starting to shift more movies from a theatrical release to Disney+.
From theaters to your screen
Disney has dominated the box office in recent years. Together with exhibitors it has a big incentive to keep blockbusters on the biggest of screens, and we should expect the Hollywood studio to continue to premiere Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars and Disney titles in theaters.
We are, however, starting to see shifts in Disney's priorities for movies with medium-sized budgets. Disney+ was launched in November 2019 with Noelle, originally planned as a theatrical release. Lady and the Tramp was also the first title in Disney's series of modern remakes to bypass theaters.
This past weekend Disney took the next step with Artemis Fowl, a movie that reportedly had a production budget of 100 to 125 million dollars. It premiered on Disney+ on June 12.
After Disney confirmed the news about Artemis Fowl, former Chairman Bob Iger told the audience to expect more non-tentpole movies to bypass theaters. Soon after, Disney cancelled the 2021 theatrical premiere of its musical film Hamilton, with its 75 million dollars price tag. It will premiere on Disney+ in July 2020.
And now Disney has announced that The One and Only Ivan starring Angelina Jolie will also skip theaters in favor of Disney+. It will premiere on August 21, 2020.
Following Universal boycott
The latest developments come not long after the world's biggest cinema chain said that it would boycott all movies from Universal after the Hollywood studio's plan to release movies in theaters and at home simultaneously.
Disney is taking a more cautious approach but the studio is clearly adjusting its strategy after the launch of Disney+ and the general trend towards home entertainment, which has been accelerated by the coronavirus outbreak.
Disney+ surpassed 50 million subscribers five month after launch. It will expand to additional countries in 2020 and 2021.