The rest of Disney’s 2021 slate will all arrive in theaters exclusively, the company said Friday.
For the first half of the year, Disney opted to make many of its new films available in cinemas and on Disney+ either for free or for a $30 fee. These decisions were made well before vaccination rates were on the rise and before the delta variant was running rampant in the U.S.
It has become clear, however, that the dual release has led to cannibalization of theater ticket sales.
The success of the theatrical-only releases of 20th Century Studio’s “Free Guy” and Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” at the domestic box office, Disney appears confident that consumers are ready to return to cinemas and that the future of its blockbuster features is on the big screen.
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With a box office haul of $75.5 million over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, “Shang-Chi” had the second-highest domestic debut since the pandemic began. Its total box-office haul for the four-day holiday weekend topped $90 million, nearly triple that of the previous Labor Day weekend record holder.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” was not included in this list, but will likely also have an exclusive theatrical release. It is co-produced by Disney and Sony. Sony does not have its own streaming platform and has released all of its 2021 theatrical movies in cinemas exclusively.