Disney boss Bob Iger has hinted more movies will skip cinemas and go straight to Disney+ as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
With cinemas being closed in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19, studio executives have been forced to postpone the releases of their spring-summer 2020 movies and reshuffle the schedule accordingly.
Last week, Disney bosses unveiled their revised calendar and announced that sci-fi adventure film Artemis Fowl, which was due to debut in cinemas in May, would be skipping a theatrical run altogether and be made available on Disney+ at an undisclosed date, making it the studio’s first film to lose its cinema release.
And in a new interview with Barron’s magazine, Iger, who is the executive chairman of The Walt Disney Company, hinted that other movies could be following the same route.
“In terms of movies going ahead after Artemis, there may be a few more that we end up putting directly onto Disney+, but for the most part a lot of the big tentpole Disney films, we’ll simply wait for slots. In some cases, we’ve announced new ones already, but later on in the calendar,” he said. “In some cases, we’ve moved things onto Disney+ faster than we would have. Frozen 2 was one of them, but Onward would be the biggest example. It was in theatres when this happened. We moved to a pay-per-view period for a couple of weeks where people could buy it and own it. And then we ended up putting it on Disney+.”
While Iger didn’t name any of the films that may jump directly to Disney+, it has long been rumoured that X-Men spin-off The New Mutants, which has been delayed multiple times since its original April 2018 release date, will go to Hulu, a streaming service majority-owned by Disney. The superhero movie, starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, and Charlie Heaton, is currently without a release date.
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