Disney to debut its 2021 films in theaters
Walt Disney Co has said it will release “Eternals,” “West Side Story” and the rest of its 2021 films exclusively in theaters before sending them to streaming, a show of confidence that moviegoing will rebound.
The company had experimented during the pandemic with debuting some movies on the Disney+ streaming service at the same time they ran in theaters.
Cinema operators have been closely watching how Disney, which has dominated movie box offices in recent years, would handle its upcoming slate as the Delta variant slowed audiences’ return to multiplexes.
Disney said in a statement that animated musical “Encanto” will play in theaters for 30 days starting Nov. 24 and head to Disney+ just before Christmas.
The film tells the story of a family who live in a magical house in the mountains of Colombia. It includes music written by “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.
All other Disney releases, including Marvel movie “Eternals” in November and Steven Spielberg’s revival of “West Side Story” in December, will play exclusively in cinemas for at least 45 days, the company said.