2020 has been a very different year for movie releases, with cinemas closed around the world at different times due to local Covid-19 restrictions and while the vaccine is slowly being distributed, it’s going to take a while to get back to “normal”, if it ever does.

Disney has moved some of its theatrical releases such as “Soul” over to Disney+ and during last weeks Investor Day event, Disney announced that “Raya and the Last Dragon” would be released in cinemas on March 5th and on Disney+ Premier Access for $29.99.

But this might not be the only movie to do so, as Disney CEO Bob Chapek said during the event:

 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. 

It [Premier Access] really works really well now during the pandemic. We’re going to see as we get more and more experience, whether we think that’s a strategy that can go forward as a business model. That piece of it though goes to the second change in dynamic. [As we mentioned], there’s COVID, but there’s also change in consumer demand. And we’re going to read every single title. We’re doing ‘Raya’ in March, [which] will be a data point for us to better understand what Premier Access can be, both in a COVID world and in a post-COVID world.

According to The Wrap, Marvel Studios is working behind-the-scenes to try to release films in cinemas first, but they are starting to draw up contracts for new films going into production that compensate actors, actors, directors, writers and producers, if their films have to premiere on streaming.  Marvel is still keen on releasing its movies such as “Black Widow” and “Eternals” in cinemas first.

These new contracts will see those people receive adjusted compensation depending on how the film is released.    Marvel films typically have pay backend bonuses to key talent based on a film’s box office performance.

“Black Panther 2” will be the first movie to have this new clause in the contract, giving Disney more flexibility in how films are released in the future.   “Black Panther 2” is due to start shooting in June 2021.

Recently WarnerMedia paid Woman Wonder’s star Gal Gadot and its director, Patty Jenkins, $10 million each to compensate them for losses in moving Woman Woman 1984 to HBO Max in the United States.  They then made a huge announcement in making all of its movies available on HBO Max for 30 days, at the same time the movies are released in cinemas.  This has led to a huge backlash from directors such as James Gunn and Christopher Nolan.    Legendary Entertainment has been looking into suing WarnerMedia for potential loses with its movies “Dune” and “Godzilla vs. Kong” being released on HBO Max.

Watching new movies at home continues to build momentum, even before the pandemic started and it’s going to be hard to get everyone back to cinemas for years to come, these new contracts help all those involved deal with an evolving situation.


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Roger Palmer

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. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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