After the near $100 million opening of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the Walt Disney Company just made a major statement about the future of its films. First, all of the company’s remaining 2021 releases, including Eternals and The King’s Man, will play only in theaters for 45 days. In addition, the company just dated a bunch of future films all the way into 2024.
The biggest piece of that latter bit of news is that the 2024 calendar just added four new Marvel movies, scheduled for release February 16, May 3, July 26, and November 8, 2024. They’ll come after four Marvel movies across 2022 and a whopping five in 2023. Beyond that, Guillermo del Toro’s latest, Nightmare Alley, was pushed a few weeks from December 3 to December 17; the previously undated Bob’s Burgers movie will now be out May 27, 2022; and the live-action version of The Little Mermaid will swim into theaters May 26, 2023.
Both moves are strong indications just how bullish Disney is on the theatrical experience. And why shouldn’t it be? After releasing many of its big 2021 films like Black Widow and Jungle Cruise both in theaters and on Disney+, the last two major releases—Free Guy and Shang-Chi—were exclusively in theaters and both were major hits. So the remaining films this year being exclusive to theaters for 45 days (with the notable exception of the animated film Encanto, which will be exclusive for only 30 days) makes perfect sense, for the company at least. It might make less sense to people still worried about the global covid-19 pandemic but with the numbers Shang-Chi put up, Disney seems content with at least that potential.
It’s also always worth checking if Disney’s schedule still has Avatar 2 hitting theaters in December 2022, which it does. Star Wars will still return to theaters in December 2023 with Patty Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron, followed by the franchises flipping that month into 2028: Avatar 3 in December 2024, a new Star Wars in December 2025, then Avatar, Star Wars, Avatar.
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