With 2020 coming to a close, I wanted to take a look at what movies the Walt Disney Company will be releasing in cinemas under it many brands throughout 2021.
The theatrical Disney film slate suffered greatly in 2020, with some movies being moved to Disney+ and many titles being pushed back into 2021.
The first major theatrical release of 2021 for Disney will be “Raya and the Last Dragon”, which will also be released on Disney+ Premier Access on March 5th. Disney hasn’t committed to going all-in on releasing theatrical releases also on Disney+ like with HBO Max, but will be continuing to monitor the situation with cinemas and the pandemic, so future theatrical releases could be released on Disney+ as Premier Access titles or shifted to Disney+ if cinemas are still closed.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s stated during the Investor Day 2020
Obviously right now that [Premier Access] works fairly well as we have a theatrical business that is being very very challenged, that enables us not to have the titles stacking up, if you will. By being able to encourage us to go ahead and release a title in the theatrical market maybe before we’re back up to one hundred percent penetration.
All of these titles will eventually be released on Disney’s streaming services at some point, with all Disney, Pixar and Marvel movies heading to Disney+, while 2021 movies from 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Studios will still have to go to HBO first in the United States before going to Hulu. Internationally movies from 20th Century Studios and Searchlight will also be eventually released on Disney+ as well under the Star banner.
Here is a look at every movie currently announced to be released in 2021 in cinemas:
Note: These release dates are based on the United States & are subject to change.
NOMADLAND – February 19, 2021 (Searchlight)
Following the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern (Frances McDormand) packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad. The third feature film from director Chloé Zhao, NOMADLAND features real nomads Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells as Fern’s mentors and comrades in her exploration through the vast landscape of the American West.
RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON – March 5, 2021 (Theatrical and Disney+ with Premier Access)
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Raya and the Last Dragon” travels to the fantasy world of Kumandra, where humans and dragons lived together long ago in harmony. But when an evil force threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, that same evil has returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the legendary last dragon to restore the fractured land and its divided people. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than a dragon to save the world—it’s going to take trust and teamwork as well.
“Raya and the Last Dragon” features the voices of Kelly Marie Tran as Raya, a warrior whose wit is as sharp as her blade, and Awkwafina as the magical, mythical, self-deprecating dragon named Sisu. Characters also include a street-savvy 10-year-old entrepreneur named Boun, the formidable giant Tong and a thieving toddler Noi with her band of Ongis. Directed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada and produced by Osnat Shurer and Peter Del Vecho, “Raya and the Last Dragon” will be released simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access on March 5, 2021.
THE KING’S MAN – March 12, 2021 (20th Century)
As a collection of history’s worst tyrants and criminal masterminds gather to plot a war to wipe out millions, one man must race against time to stop them. Discover the origins of the very first independent intelligence agency in “The King’s Man.” “The King’s Man” is directed by Matthew Vaughn and stars Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Matthew Goode, Tom Hollander, Harris Dickinson, Daniel Brühl, with Djimon Hounsou, and Charles Dance.
BOB’S BURGERS – April 9, 2021 (20th Century)
Directed by Loren Bouchard, the Bob’s Burgers movie features the voices of H. Jon Benjamin as Bob Belcher, Kristen Schaal as Louise Belcher, John Roberts as Linda Belcher, Dan Mintz as Tina Belcher, Larry Murphy as Teddy, and Eugene Mirman as Gene Belcher.
RON’S GONE WRONG – April 23, 2021 (20th Century)
Twentieth Century Studios and Locksmith Animation’s “Ron’s Gone Wrong” is the story of Barney, a socially awkward middle-schooler and Ron, his new walking, talking, digitally-connected device, which is supposed to be his ‘Best Friend out of the Box.’ Ron’s hilarious malfunctions set against the backdrop of the social media age, launch them into an action-packed journey in which boy and robot come to terms with the wonderful messiness of true friendship.
BLACK WIDOW – May 7, 2021 (Marvel)
In Marvel Studios’ action-packed spy thriller “Black Widow,” Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.
Scarlett Johansson reprises her role as Natasha/Black Widow, Florence Pugh stars as Yelena, David Harbour portrays Alexei/The Red Guardian, and Rachel Weisz is Melina. Directed by Cate Shortland and produced by Kevin Feige, “Black Widow” — the first film in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — hits U.S. theaters on May 7, 2021.
FREE GUY – May 21, 2021 (20th Century)
In Twentieth Century Studios’ epic adventure-comedy “Free Guy,” a bank teller who discovers he is actually a background player in an open-world video game, decides to become the hero of his own story…one he rewrites himself. Now in a world where there are no limits, he is determined to be the guy who saves his world his way…before it is too late. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Joe Keery, Utkarsh Ambudkar and Taika Waititi, “Free Guy” is directed by Shawn Levy from a screenplay by Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn and a story by Lieberman.
CRUELLA – May 28, 2021 (Disney)
Academy Award winner Emma Stone (“La La Land”) stars in Disney’s “Cruella,” an all-new live-action feature film about the rebellious early days of one of cinemas most notorious – and notoriously fashionable – villains, the legendary Cruella de Vil. “Cruella,” which is set in 1970s London amidst the punk rock revolution, follows a young grifter named Estella, a clever and creative girl determined to make a name for herself with her designs. She befriends a pair of young thieves who appreciate her appetite for mischief, and together they are able to build a life for themselves on the London streets.
One day, Estella’s flair for fashion catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman, a fashion legend who is devastatingly chic and terrifyingly haute, played by two-time Oscar winner Emma Thompson (“Howards End,” “Sense & Sensibility”). But their relationship sets in motion a course of events and revelations that will cause Estella to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous, fashionable and revenge-bent Cruella.
LUCA – June 18, 2021 (Pixar)
Set in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Riviera, Disney and Pixar’s original feature film “Luca” is a coming-of-age story about one young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta and endless scooter rides. Luca shares these adventures with his newfound best friend, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: they are sea monsters from another world just below the water’s surface.
The film is directed by Academy Award nominee Enrico Casarosa (“La Luna”) and produced by Andrea Warren (“Lava,” “Cars 3”).
SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TENRINGS – July 9, 2021 (Marvel)
Marvel Studios’ “Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings” stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, who must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization. The film also stars Tony Leung as Wenwu, Awkwafina as Shang-Chi’s friend Katy and Michelle Yeoh as Jiang Nan, as well as Fala Chen, Meng’er Zhang, Florian Munteanu and Ronny Chieng.
“Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings” is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton from a screenplay written by David Callaham, Cretton and Andrew Lanham. It is produced by Kevin Feige and Jonathan Schwartz, with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso and Charles Newirth serving as executive producers.
JUNGLE CRUISE – July 30, 2021 (Disney)
Join fan favorites Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt for the adventure of a lifetime on Disney’s “Jungle Cruise,” a rollicking thrill-ride down the Amazon with wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff and intrepid researcher Dr. Lily Houghton. Lily travels from London, England to the Amazon jungle and enlists Frank’s questionable services to guide her downriver on La Quila—his ramshackle-but-charming boat. Lily is determined to uncover an ancient tree with unparalleled healing abilities—possessing the power to change the future of medicine.
Thrust on this epic quest together, the unlikely duo encounters innumerable dangers and supernatural forces, all lurking in the deceptive beauty of the lush rainforest. But as the secrets of the lost tree unfold, the stakes reach even higher for Lily and Frank and their fate—
and mankind’s—hangs in the balance.
DEEP WATER – August 13, 2021 (20th Century)
From 20th Century Studios and New Regency, Ben Affleck (“Gone Girl”) and Ana de Armas (“Knives Out”) star in the psychological thriller “Deep Water” from director Adrian Lyne (“Fatal Attraction,” “Indecent Proposal”). Based on the celebrated novel by famed mystery writer Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley), “Deep Water” takes us inside the marriage of picture-perfect Vic (Affleck) and Melinda (de Armas) Van Allen to discover the dangerous mind games they play and what happens to the people that get caught up in them.
“Deep Water” also stars Tracy Letts, Lil Rel Howery, Finn Wittrock, Dash Mihok, Jacob Elordi, Kristen Connolly, Rachel Blanchard, Jade Fernandez, Michael Braun, Grace Jenkins, Brendan C. Miller and Devyn Tyler.
THE BEATLES: GET BACK – August 27, 2021 (Disney)
Acclaimed filmmaker Peter Jackson’s “The Beatles: Get Back” is a unique cinematic experience that takes audiences back in time to The Beatles’ intimate recording sessions during a pivotal moment in music history. The film showcases the warmth, camaraderie and creative genius that defined the legacy of the iconic foursome. Shot in January 1969 and compiled from over 60 hours of unseen footage (filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg) and more than 150 hours of unheard audio, all of which has been brilliantly restored, “The Beatles: Get Back” is the story of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr as they plan their first live show in over two years and charts the writing and rehearsing of 14 new songs, originally intended for release on an accompanying live album.
DEATH ON THE NILE – September 17, 2021 (20th Century)
Based on the 1937 novel by Agatha Christie, “Death on the Nile” is a daring mystery-thriller directed by Kenneth Branagh about the emotional chaos and deadly consequences triggered by obsessive love. Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot’s Egyptian vacation aboard a glamorous river steamer turns into a terrifying search for a murderer when a picture-perfect couple’s idyllic honeymoon is tragically cut short. Set against an epic landscape of sweeping desert vistas and the majestic Giza pyramids, this tale of unbridled passion and incapacitating jealousy features a cosmopolitan group of impeccably dressed travelers, and enough wicked twists and turns to leave audiences guessing until the final, shocking denouement.
THE LAST DUEL – October 15, 2021 (20th Century)
From Twentieth Century Studios and visionary filmmaker Ridley Scott comes “The Last Duel,” a gripping tale of betrayal and vengeance set against the brutality and female oppression of 14th century France. The historical epic, which is based on actual events depicted in The Last Duel by Eric Jager, stars Oscar winner Matt Damon and two-time Academy Award nominee Adam Driver as quarreling lords, both of noble birth, whose grievances must be resolved in a duel to the death.
The film, which also stars Oscar winner Ben Affleck and Emmy winner Jodie Comer, is directed by four-time Academy Award nominee Ridley Scott from a screenplay by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Oscar nominee Nicole Holofcener.
ETERNALS – November 5, 2021 (Marvel)
Directed by Chloé Zhao, Marvel Studios’ “Eternals” welcomes an exciting new team of Super Heroes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The epic story, spanning thousands of years, features a group of immortal heroes forced out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s oldest enemy, The Deviants.
The outstanding ensemble cast includes Richard Madden as the all-powerful Ikaris, Gemma Chan as humankind-loving Sersi, Kumail Nanjiani as cosmic-powered Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as the super-fast Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as the intelligent inventor Phastos, Salma Hayek as the wise and spiritual leader Ajak, Lia McHugh as the eternally young, old-soul Sprite, Don Lee as the powerful Gilgamesh, Barry Keoghan as aloof loner Druig, and Angelina Jolie as the fierce warrior Thena. Kit Harington plays Dane Whitman.
ENCANTO – November 24, 2021 (Disney)
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Encanto” tells the tale of an extraordinary family, the Madrigals, who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia, in a magical house, in a vibrant town, in a wondrous, charmed place called an Encanto. The magic of the Encanto has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift from super strength to the power to heal—every child except one, Mirabel. But when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is in danger, Mirabel decides that she, the only ordinary Madrigal, might just be her exceptional family’s last hope.
The film features all-new songs by Emmy, GRAMMY and Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton,” “Moana”) and is directed by Byron Howard (“Zootopia,” “Tangled”) and Jared Bush (co-director “Zootopia”), co-directed by Charise Castro Smith (writer “The Death of Eva Sofia Valdez”) and produced by Clark Spencer and Yvett Merino.
UNTITLED 20th CENTURY – December 3, 2021
WEST SIDE STORY – December 10, 2021 (20th Century)
Directed by Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg, from a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Tony Kushner, “West Side Story” tells the classic tale of fierce rivalries and young love in 1957 New York City. This reimagining of the beloved musical stars Ansel Elgort (Tony); Rachel Zegler (María); Ariana DeBose (Anita); David Alvarez (Bernardo); Mike Faist (Riff); Josh Andrés Rivera (Chino); Ana Isabelle (Rosalía); Corey Stoll (Lieutenant Schrank); Brian d’Arcy James (Officer Krupke); and Rita Moreno (as Valentina, who owns the corner store in which Tony works).
UNTITLED DISNEY LIVE ACTION – December 17, 2021
EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE – (No date set – 2021) (20th Century)
Inspired by true events, New Regency’s and Film4’s “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” is the film adaptation of the hit musical. Jamie New is 16 and doesn’t quite fit in—instead of pursuing a “real” career, he dreams of becoming a drag queen. Uncertain about his future, Jamie knows one thing for sure: he is going to be a sensation. Supported by his loving mom and his amazing friends, Jamie overcomes prejudice, beats the bullies and steps out of the darkness into the spotlight.
What movie are you looking forward to seeing in 2021?
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.