Earlier today, Disney announced that “Jungle Cruise” would be coming to Disney+ Premier Access in addition to coming to theatres. This will be the fifth film to be released at a premium price on Disney+, where subscribers have to pay $30 to see the brand new movie or wait 3 months until it’s available for all subscribers. Or head to your local cinema to watch the film.
With the pandemic still causing major problems at the box office, with people still wary of heading to enclosed environments, during today’s quarterly financial results call, Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek went into a little more detail about the future of Disney+ Premier Access.
Bob Chapek explained they are planning three ways of releasing films:
Flexibility is the key component of our distribution strategy. And we have outlined three approaches for distributing our films. Releases in Theatres with the simultaneous offering via Disney+ premier access release straight to Disney+, and traditional exclusive theatrical releases. Here’s how this translates to our tremendous upcoming film slate. Correll la will be released in Theatres via Disney+ premier access May 28.
Followed by Pixar’s “Luca” June 18. The highly anticipated Black Widow will be in Theatres and on Disney+ via premier access on July 9. And Disney’s jungle cruise, a hilarious adventure filled expedition will be available in Theatres and on Disney+ via premier access on July 30th. I’m pleased to announce today that recent signs of consumer confidence in movie going, two films, TWETH Century’s exciting comedy, and adventure — and the legend of the ten rings will be released with a 45-day window on August — and September 3rd respectively. Regardless of where they originate, all of our films and episodic series will end up as part of the robust library of content on our DTC platforms.
Bob Chapek was later asked about his comments and went on to explain:
In terms of the premier access, you’re absolutely right. As we get into a situation where we’re trying to monitor our consumers ready to go back into Theatres? Of course, 90% let’s say of the domestic marketplace is open right now. And we’re encouraged in terms of polling in terms of that growing going forward, but if you look at last weekend’s box office for an example and compare last three years of pre-COVID box office, it was 85% low domestically and 63% below — or 67% below internationally. So we know the market is not quite there yet.
So the Disney premier access strategy, one of the things it gives us right now, and we’re grateful for this is the ability to go ahead and try to release things into the market, and try to reprime the pump, if you will, but at the same time know that for those consumers that are a little leery still about going into a packed Theatre, that they can go ahead and watch it in the safety and convenience of their home. In terms of going beyond this fiscal year, we’ve not announced exactly what our strategy is going to be in terms of which titles will be theatrical plus Disney premier access, which ones will be direct to Disney+ or which ones will go into Theatres, but know that we’ll continue to watch the evolution of the recovery of the theatrical marketplace and we’ll use that flexibility to make the right call at the right time.
But right now we’ve only called those films in this fiscal year because of the relatively fluid nature of the recovery of exhibition.
While Disney+ Premier Access might be a temporary solution to release films during the current crisis, should the new system prove profitable, it may continue or even become the norm.
Do you like the idea of Disney+ Premier Access continuing?