How ‘Moana 2’ Jumped From Streaming to Theaters — And Could Help Disney Animation Rebound

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Disney is shifting streaming exclusives back to theaters to boost box office

Moana 2 Disney
"Moana 2" and Disney CEO Bob Iger

During its first quarter earnings call earlier this month, Disney announced that the next animated film it will bring to theaters on Thanksgiving will be the sequel to its 2016 hit “Moana,” signaling a renewed push on sequels after years of original animated titles.

But “Moana 2” was originally announced in 2020, under short-lived CEO Bob Chapek, as a streaming series exclusive to Disney+. This change underscores a shifting strategy by Disney and other studios to move films previously planned for streaming to the big screen — in part to calm jittery investors nervous about the thin pipeline of tentpole movies after the Hollywood strikes.


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