This year, many Disney movie fans have been skipping going to the cinema to watch films at home on Disney+, but unfortunately, Disney is no longer rushing films to Disney+ as soon as possible, like it did during the pandemic years. The days of a new Disney film arriving on Disney+ just 45 days after being released in cinemas are long gone.
Films are now spending much longer in cinemas before being released on digital platforms to buy or rent, and then a month or so later, the films are then made available to stream on Disney+. While fans may be disappointed to know they have to wait a few months for new films to arrive on Disney+, there is a very simple reason why this is happening. Money!
Simply put, a movie being rushed to Disney+ makes much less money. Not only does rushing a film to streaming drastically cut into the theatrical box office, but it is also being blamed for why movie fans have become “trained” to wait for a Disney+ release. So keeping the film in cinemas exclusively for an extra month or so, help set the tone for future releases. Disney has followed other film studios in making their films available on digital platforms like Amazon, Apple and Vudu to purchase for a month or longer, before being made available on Disney+.
And during a recent quarterly investor’s call, Disney CEO Bob Iger explained how the latest releases have been a huge success for them:
And we’re maximizing the full impact of our titles by embracing the multiple distribution windows at our disposal, enabling consumers to access their content in multiple ways. For example, Avatar: The Way of Water, which is now the third highest-grossing film of all time, is also on track to be the biggest-ever electronic home video release for Disney domestically.
Certain other titles will be sold in the download-to-own window as well. By focusing on big franchises and tentpole films, we’re able to generate interest in our existing library. For example, we’re seeing tremendous engagement on Disney+ with the previous Guardians of the Galaxy films, the original Avatar, and the first four Indiana Jones movies. But the value of our Disney entertainment studios and the reason this will be a key growth business for us extends far beyond our library and new releases.
Following the success of films like “Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol 3”, “The Little Mermaid” and “Avatar: The Way Of Water” on digital platforms, this is going to become the new traditional release window strategy for new releases. While Disney still releases new films on physical media such as DVD and Blu-Ray, this market is shrinking, and in some regions, they aren’t even releasing them anymore due to the lack of sales. While the traditional home video window used to result in huge sales and rentals, that could easily bring in just as much or even more than a theatrical release, the industry has changed with streaming and digital distribution. But equally, films do need to make money in order to encourage companies like Disney to continue to make them, since if they don’t, studios simply won’t make them.
So, expect to see future films like “Haunted Mansion” and “Wish”, to arrive on digital platforms to buy before they are added to Disney+.
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