When the Walt Disney Company purchased 20th Century Fox, it was revealed that one of the main reasons for the purchase, was to increase production to fuel Disney’s streaming services drastically.
While the pandemic slowed down production, as we head into 2022, 20th Century Studios has been ramping up how many films it’s releasing, and in the past six months, we’ve seen plenty of movies released in cinemas, including “West Side Story” and “The King’s Man”.
But moving forward, we’ll be seeing more films heading directly to Disney’s streaming services (Disney+, Hulu and Star+) and only a handful of theatrical releases.
In a recent interview with THR, 20th Century Studios president, Steve Asbell explained:
We remain making commercial films for a global audience; we remain what we’ve always tried to be, which is a supportive working environment for talent; but thanks to this increase in streaming output, with the exception of a few titles, all of our movies will launch on Hulu domestically, Star+ [and Disney+] internationally, which allows us to make the genres that we love, genres that Disney doesn’t make in the other divisions, and that we haven’t been able to play with as much in recent years. Comedy, thriller, young adult, horror. We get more of these at-bats, and we can make more bets on new talent.
In 2022, we’ve already seen 20th Century Studios release “No Exit” and “The Ice Age Adventures Of Buck Wild”, and there are plenty more films heading to Disney’s streaming services, including the upcoming “Cheaper By The Dozen” remake, an animated “Night at the Museum” film, along with “Rosaline”, “Prey” and “The Princess”. While in cinemas, there will be a “Bob’s Burger” film and an “Avatar” sequel near Christmas.
Steve explained why they are mixing together originals and remakes:
It’s a mix. In order to meet the volume that we are looking at — which is, by 2023, 10-plus movies just for streaming — it’s going to be a combination of originals in those genres. And coolest of all for fans, we get to find bold takes on beloved Fox properties. You can take big creative swings — which you’ll see with Prey, which we’ll launch this summer. A Predator movie set in the Great Plains in 1719 by Dan Trachtenberg. That’s what this allows us to do.
This shift to making more movies for Disney’s streaming services will undoubtedly give them plenty of original new content, especially on Disney+ internationally, which gets all of the films rather than being spread out with Hulu and Star+ [and Disney+]. And when combined with Disney’s other studios creating films like Searchlight, Nat Geo, and Disney, there will be lots of great new movies throughout the year, plus the big theatrical release films arriving at a later date.
But 20th Century Studios won’t be going entirely into streaming. It will still be releasing some of its significant films in cinemas. With Steve explaining:
It goes like the other divisions, two or three theatrical movies a year. We’re navigating the marketplace like everyone else. There are movies like Avatar, Planet of the Apes and now Free Guy that have well-established theatrical precedence for a wide audience. We will evaluate these decisions film by film, and looking at the marketplace as it is and making the predictions that we can. We do have original films of scale in development that we haven’t announced yet, and it will be whatever feels right for that number of films per year. What’s great about all of this is that we have both. We have this explosive new streaming mandate to pursue, yet we also have titles that we can make [for theatrical]. We have more Avatar movies coming, we have more Free Guy movies coming. We’re going to be pretty busy.
With the theatrical box office struggling with mid-level films, 20th Century Studios shift to focus on streaming for those and still delivering major blockbusters. Plus, the good news for Disney+/Hulu/Star+ subscribers is all of these new releases will provide original content to enjoy.
What do you think of 20th Century Studios shifting to mainly making films for Disney’s streaming services?