Disney is committing to release all six of the remaining films on its 2021 film slate theatrically, with all but one getting a minimum of a 45-day exclusive theatrical window, the studio announced Friday.
Marvel’s “Eternals,” as well as the 20th Century titles “The Last Duel,” “West Side Story,” “Ron’s Gone Wrong” and “The King’s Man,” will all be released with a 45-day window, while the animated musical film “Encanto” will be released with a 30-day window on November 24 before coming to Disney+. “Encanto” will then open on Disney+ on Christmas Eve in time for the holidays.
The upcoming release slate as it stands includes: “The Last Duel” on Oct. 15, “Ron’s Gone Wrong” on Oct. 22, “Eternals” on Nov. 5, “West Side Story” on Dec. 10 and “The King’s Man” on Dec. 22.
“Following the tremendous box office success of our summer films which included five of the top eight domestic releases of the year, we are excited to update our theatrical plans for the remainder of 2021,” Kareem Daniel, chairman, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, said in a statement. “As confidence in moviegoing continues to improve, we look forward to entertaining audiences in theaters, while maintaining the flexibility to give our Disney+ subscribers the gift of ‘Encanto’ this holiday season.”
Disney has made the move after the strong domestic box office success of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” which more than tripled the Labor Day weekend box office record with $94.5 million. Through Thursday, the film has matched the pace of fellow MCU film “Black Widow” with $105.9 million grossed in seven days. And the Ryan Reynolds comedy “Free Guy” similarly performed well as a theatrical exclusive, earning $95 million domestically thus far.
On the other side of the coin, the Dwayne Johnson film “Jungle Cruise” has also had legs at the box office despite also being available as a premium release through Disney+. It’s made $107 million domestically, and Disney reported after the film’s first weekend that it made over $30 million in its Disney+ debut globally.
But Disney also faces a lawsuit from “Black Widow” star Scarlett Johansson after that film was released day-and-date in theaters and on Disney+ as a Premier Access title, with Johansson’s lawyers saying that her contract was worded around the film getting a theatrical exclusive release and that she would’ve received bonuses based on the film’s box office performance (Disney initially said the lawsuit has “no merit whatsoever”).
Marvel’s “Eternals” is directed by “Nomadland” Oscar-winner Chloé Zhao and stars Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie.
“The Last Duel” is the next film from director Ridley Scott that is written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and stars Damon, Affleck, Adam Driver and Jodie Comer. The film just premiered at the Venice Film Festival.
“Ron’s Gone Wrong” is an animated feature from 20th Century Studios and Locksmith Animation and is about a socially awkward middle school kid who gets a malfunctioning helper robot that’s meant to be his best friend.
“Encanto” is a Disney Animation Studios musical that features songs and a script co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and is about a Colombian girl who is the only member of her family without magical powers.
“West Side Story” is Steven Spielberg’s remake of the classic play and movie musical that stars Ansel Elgort, newcomer Rachel Zegler and has Rita Moreno returning to the film.
And finally “The King’s Man” is the prequel film to the “Kingsman” action franchise that stars Ralph Fiennes.