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Disney to release films in cinemas first for the rest of the year

Most major releases in the past 18 months have premiered on streaming services due to the closure of cinemas during the pandemic.

DISNEY HAS ANNOUNCED that that all of its films scheduled for release by the end of this year will be exclusively screened in cinemas at first, after the Covid-19 pandemic forced many new films to premier on streaming services instead.

The animated film “Encanto” will be released on the big screen on 24 November and will not appear on Disney’s on-demand video platform until 24 December, the company said in a statement.

Other planned projects, including Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel, Eternals from Marvel Studios and the remake of West Side Story, directed by Steven Spielberg, will be screened in cinemas for at least 45 days before they are released elsewhere.

The decision will be welcomed by traditional cinemas after the entertainment giant recently chose to release a series of big productions such as Black Widow, Jungle Cruise and Cruella on its Disney+ platform, diverting part of their revenue.

Black Widow actor Scarlett Johansson has sued Disney, accusing the company of breach of contract and costing her millions of dollars in box office revenue after it released the film on its video platform.

Two years ago, Disney was producing content for both cinemas and television channels, but it now has direct access to its audience via streaming, a trend accelerated by the pandemic.

In mid-August, Disney boss Bob Chapek said he favoured “flexibility” and the ability to “follow the consumer wherever he goes”.

During a presentation of the company’s financial results, he said “when theatres reopened, there was immense reluctance from the public to return”.

Warner Bros. studios has also been criticised for its decision to release all of its new movies for the rest of the year on its HBO Max platform.

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