20th Century Studios “Free Guy” is set to hit cinemas only this coming Friday and stars Ryan Reynolds as “Guy”, who is 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.”
With many of Disney’s biggest films being delayed due to the pandemic, “Free Guy” did suffer from multiple delays but will now be the first big title to be released exclusively in theatres.
While promoting the film, the director, Shawn Levy was asked by Collider about why the film wasn’t released onto Disney+, which he replied:
I think, well two things, one is Disney shortly after they bought Fox, they came to a test screening of Free Guy. And I say this as someone who, whether it was Real Steel or Ryan had this experience on Deadpool 2 where, we’ve had movies that have tested euphorically, Free Guy tested like nothing to a number that neither Ryan nor I had seen and the Disney brass was there. So they always said through the whole pandemic, when we would say, are you sure you don’t want to just show people, because it’s done. They really always felt that if Free Guy can get its moment in movie theaters and the audience can feel that experience, that it could catch a tailwind and maybe even justify the existence of other stories within a new franchise, it’s a big swing. I’ve seen the movie play in theaters and certainly every director would rather have it seen big and loud. So selfishly, narcissistically, the director of me loves that. But COVID permissive, permitting the hope is that that collective experience can bring the movie to life in the culture the way we feel it can. And that was always the position that Disney had.
“Free Guy” is one of this year’s biggest releases and while it has a large budget of over $100 million dollars, moving it to Disney+ would have been a major shift for the company. As currently, no 20th Century Studios title has been released directly onto the streaming platform before. Though Searchlight Pictures “Nomadland” and “Summer Of Soul” were released on Hulu in the US and on Disney+ internationally, they have much smaller budgets. The first 20th Century Studios film to get a full streaming release, will be “Vacation Friends”, which is coming to Hulu and Star On Disney+ internationally at the end of the month.
There could also be some legal other issues with releasing “Free Guy” on Disney+ Premier Access, since Disney inherited an old streaming contract with HBO when it purchased 20th Century Fox. This means new films go to HBO Max first, rather than to its own streaming platform.
“Free Guy” also makes the perfect summer blockbuster film to send to cinemas first to test the waters for the rest of the year’s theatrical releases.
What do you think? Should Disney have released “Free Guy” on Disney+ instead?
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.