Disney films to run in theaters for less time now?
The ongoing pandemic has forced Disney to think about "operational changes," as per CEO Bob Chapek. He said this is "the perfect time" to bring in modifications such as shrinking a film's theatrical run while talking to reporters recently. This comes after major studios like Universal and WarnerMedia altered their functioning, given the popularity that streaming platforms enjoyed with people locked inside their homes.
Consumers watched a title whenever they wanted last year
Chapek highlighted that Disney has always "let the consumer be our guide in almost all situations," and that's the case this time, too. "The consumer is probably more impatient than they've ever been before, particularly since now they've had the luxury of an entire year of getting titles at home pretty much when they want them," said Chapek, adding that there's no "going back."
Audience not tolerant enough to wait for months, implies Chapek
Chapek implied that the company will analyze the options of releasing films on-demand and streaming them on OTT, as audience preferences have clearly changed. "I don't think there'll be the tolerance for a title being out of theatrical for months and yet it hasn't had its chance for it to be thrown into the marketplace in another distribution channel," said the Disney chief.
Disney to go for hybrid releases too, like WarnerMedia?
This doesn't mean that theater distributors and owners will be left high and dry as Disney is hinting at hybrid strategies of keeping films running both in theaters and on streamers. "We certainly don't want to do anything like cut the legs off a theatrical exhibition run," Chapek assured. Disney is using this model for Mulan and the upcoming Raya and the Last Dragon.
Big-budget films like 'Black Widow', 'Cruella' to release in May
Such an announcement from Disney assumes significance since its big-budget films, Black Widow and Cruella, have May 7 and May 28 (in UK, US) release schedules, respectively. Time's ticking for Disney as another delay might harm Marvel's Phase 4 movies. This announcement also alerts rival studios, of which Warner Bros has had industry-wide backlash for releasing its entire 2021 movie slate on HBO Max.