Disney announced in September that all of its remaining films for 2021 would receive exclusive releases in theaters.
The news came off the back of the successful release of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” which garnered a $90 million pull over its opening weekend and has grossed $400 million worldwide.
Disney films released throughout the pandemic did so with simultaneous releases in theaters and on Disney’s streaming platform, Disney+, including “Black Widow,” which was knocked off its spot as highest grossing film of 2021 by “Shang-Chi.”
“As confidence in moviegoing continues to improve, we look forward to entertaining audiences in theaters,” Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution said in a Sept. 10 press release.
The Globe reached out to students and faculty at Salt Lake Community College to see if the announcement had affected any of their movie going plans.
SLCC film professor Channing Lowe said audiences are starting to come back to theaters.
“According to most recent statistics, around 45% of Americans are comfortable returning to theaters,” he said, adding that audiences tend to be more willing to head back to theaters for larger scale films like “Shang-Chi.”
Sarah Fillmore, an education major, said Disney’s plans would not change her moviegoing plans.
“I barely go to movies anyways,” Fillmore said. “I mean, those movies are still gonna be online at some point, right?”
Although Disney movies will initially be released in theaters, the films will be available online for streaming within a month or two, depending on the film.
“Why? I don’t get it,” said political science major Kim Morgan. “Anyone who wanted to go see it in theaters could, but it’s a pain for a lot of people to get themselves out of the house just to watch a movie.”
Speculation about the move to exclusive theatrical releases includes the possibility of avoiding contractual conflicts with actors, following Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit over payments related to box office returns.
Disney’s decision to give their six remaining major releases exclusive theatrical runs also flies against decisions made by other major studios, including Warner Bros. Studios, whose science fiction epic, “Dune,” which opened in U.S. theaters and on the streaming service HBO Max on Oct. 22.
“The Last Duel” and “Ron’s Gone Wrong” received theatrical releases earlier this month. Upcoming Disney releases in 2021 include “Eternals,” “West Side Story,” “Encanto,” and “The King’s Man.” Details for the releases can be found on Disney’s official site or through a local theater.