Last month, The Walt Disney Studios announced several delays and changes to its upcoming film release schedule due to the global health crisis, including the decision to premiere Artemis Fowl exclusively on Disney+. At that time, Disney chairman Bob Iger revealed that the studio could possibly release more movies to the streaming service in the future.
During Disney’s Q2 earnings call, CEO Bob Chapek revealed that Disney is evaluating their releases on a case-by-case basis.
“We very much believe in the value of the theatrical experience overall to launch blockbuster movies,”
Chapek continued to say,
“As you know we had seven $1 billion films in calendar 2019, but we also realized that either because of changing and evolving consumer dynamics, or because of certain situations like Covid, we may have to make some changes to that overall strategy just because theaters aren’t open, or aren’t open to the extent that anybody needs to be financially viable. So we’re going to evaluate each one of our movies on a case by case situation, as we are doing right now, during this coronavirus situation.”
Part of Disney’s reshuffle moved major tentpole films like Jungle Cruise, Raya and the Last Dragon, and Eternals off to 2021, while Mulan and Black Widow were moved to July and November respectively.
With the uncertainty of when movie theaters will reopen and the amount of moviegoers who will return to the box office right away, it’s hard to predict what kind of climate will greet these movies.
Chapek referenced Mulan saying, “We’re going to get a pretty good idea about that because there’s a competitive movie that opens up one week before ours,” he said, referring to Warner Bros.’ Tenet. “At that point, we’re hoping that there’s some return to some semblance of normal in terms of the number of screens that are opening and the number of showtimes. … Our fingers are crossed.”