The pandemic has hit the film industry in many ways. Film productions had to close down prematurely once the first lockdown hit. Cinemas across the world got shut down. Many production firms were considering moving their theatrical releases to streaming services. Universal was the first to test it only to get banned by AMC. They have reconciled since, but that was only the beginning. Now, as many countries entered their second lockdown, even Warner Bros has decided to move their last tentpole film of the year, Wonder Woman 1984, to their streaming service HBO Max alongside its theatrical release. Now, this move opened up the question if other studios would follow, especially Disney, who tested out a premium service with Mulan a few months ago.
It looks like Disney has at least been considering putting the option on their table. According to Deadline, the mouse-led company is considering launching a variety of their tentpole films on their service. These films consist of Craig Gillespie’s Cruella, Robert Zemeckis‘ Pinocchio, and David Lowery‘s Peter Pan and Wendy. They haven’t decided yet if they will go down the route with Soul, which will release for free, or take the Premium Access route once again.
Disney+ has seen a massive increase in subscribers over its first year. The addition of high-profile films could get people’s attention and increase that number. Yet, there is an important franchise missing from that list. It seems that they are hellbent, for now, to see the Marvel Cinematic Universe remain in cinemas. They might still be testing the profitability of such ventures before risking losing Box Office numbers off of their cash cow franchise. The upcoming release of WandaVision could also be a test to see how many subscribers join with the addition of MCU content to the platform. Whatever Disney ends up deciding, the cinema landscape will not be the same as it used to be.