After more than a year’s delay due to the pandemic, Marvel has finally decided to release Black Widow day-and-date on Disney+ and in theaters on July 9th.
The movie will be available as a Premier Access stream, which means Disney+ users will have to pay an additional fee to watch. What’s more, Emma Stone’s live-action 101 Dalmatians prequel Cruella will follow the same distribution plan, coming to Premier Access Disney+ and cinemas on May 28th. Meanwhile, Pixar’s Luca will take the release path laid out by the Oscar-nominated Soul, going directly to streaming at no extra cost to subscribers on June 19th.
Disney’s decision to make Black Widow and Cruella available as Premier Access movies comes after what a press statement calls “the successful release” of Raya and The Last Dragon. That animated adventure became available for purchase on Disney+ the same day as it hit select theaters, March 5th. It’s currently slated to be up for paid viewing through May 4th before becoming free for all Disney+ streamers on June 4th; the first Disney+ Premier Access movie, Mulan, followed a similar pattern, becoming free to all subscribers three months after its initial release. There’s no word on whether Black Widow or Cruella will do the same.
While Warner Bros. made the call to release all its 2021 titles day-and-date to HBO Max and theaters before the turn of the year, Disney has taken a much more considered approach to its schedule. Only select projects seem to be getting the Disney+ Premier Access treatment, as the studio has announced new theatrical dates for a number of other films.
Ryan Reynolds’ Free Guy jumps to August 13th, while Marvel’s Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings moves from the July 9th date now owned by Black Widow to kick into cinemas on September 3rd. The Kingsman: The Secret Service prequel The King’s Man is now due on December 22nd, while Ben Affleck’s Deep Water and Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express sequel Death on the Nile will arrive next year on January 14th and February 11th, respectively.
Should the pandemic continue or worsen, however, the door seems to be open for Disney to shift more of its upcoming movies to a day-and-date release schedule. “Today’s announcement reflects our focus on providing consumer choice and serving the evolving preferences of audiences,” said Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution Chairman Kareem Daniel in a statement. “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.”
Disney Release Schedule:
Cruella – In Theaters and on Disney+ Starting May 28th
Luca – Streaming Exclusively on Disney+ Starting June 18th
Black Widow – In Theaters and on Disney+ Starting July 9th
Free Guy – In Theaters on August 13rd, 2021
Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – In Theaters on September 3rd, 2021
The King’s Man – In Theaters on December 22nd, 2021
Deep Water – In Theaters on January 14th, 2022
Death on the Nile – In Theaters on February 11th, 2022