In a move that isn’t too much of a shock, Disney moves two of its hotly anticipated Summer releases to its streaming service, Disney +.
“Black Widow” and “Cruella” will now premiere on Disney Plus at the same time they open in theaters. “Cruella” is arriving as scheduled on May 28, while “Black Widow” has been pushed back two months and will debut on July 9 instead of May 7. Both titles will be offered on Premier Access, which comes with a $30 rental fee.
The scheduling shift for “Black Widow” means that Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” which was previously set for July, was bumped back to Sept. 3. It’s expected to have a traditional theatrical release.
Meanwhile, Pixar’s animated coming-of-age adventure “Luca” won’t play in theaters and instead is launching exclusively on Disney Plus, at no extra cost, on June 18.
Despite the massive shift to streaming, Disney doesn’t plan to entirely ditch theaters. Numerous smaller titles, mostly those inherited from 20th Century, have been postponed but will bow solely on the big screen, including “Free Guy” (Aug. 13), “The King’s Man”(Dec. 22), “Deep Water” (Jan. 14, 2022) and “Death on the Nile” (Feb. 11, 2022).
Still, Hollywood studios aren’t betting against the summer movie season entirely. Disney and rivals are hoping the general public will feel more comfortable returning to recreational activities, like going to the movies, as more and more people get the COVID-19 vaccine. To that end, Paramount has moved up the release of “A Quiet Place Part II” from September to May 28, while Universal marginally bumped “F9” from May to June 25.
“Black Widow” stars Scarlett Johansson and takes place after the events of 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War.” It was originally slated for May 2020 but was delayed three times amid the pandemic. As Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanoff, finds herself alone, she forced to confront a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her former life as a spy, long before she became an Avenger. Cate Shortland directed the film, the 24th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Florence Pugh and David Harbour round out the cast.
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” puts the spotlight on Simu Liu as the eponymous superhero, who grapples with his past after he is drawn into the Ten Rings organization. The movie, which has also been bounced back a few times in the past year, features Awkwafina, Tony Leung, Ronny Chieng and Michelle Yeoh.
Emma Stone stars as the the villainous Disney character Cruella, with Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Emily Beecham, and Mark Strong in supporting roles. “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. 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.
Looks like we will have a lot of great films to watch….from home. Time to invest in some big screen televisions and a nice sound system this summer. Also be sure to charge your family members for drinks and popcorn!