Eternals arrives on Disney Plus, will finally stream ‘free’ late tonight

Angelina jolie as thena and lauren ridloff as makkari on a windswept beach

Eternals first premiered exclusively in theaters on November 5.

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wonderful eternal The broadcast release date on Disney Plus has finally arrived, with the movie available to stream tonight at no additional cost to subscribers. But just as life after the pandemic has been frustratingly out of reach, it’s just as difficult to control where and when Disney releases all of its movies now.

Disney more It was in operation for only about four months when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. In the nearly two years since, Disney re-envisioned the service as a means of releasing great new movies while theaters were closed or limping. But after all of its films have been released in theaters exclusively since August, Disney said on Friday that Pixar’s next feature film, Turning Red, will be skip theaters to stream exclusively on Disney Plus as of March 11. In countries where Disney Plus is not operating (like China, the world’s largest film market), the movie is slated to hit theaters … at some point. Those dates have yet to be announced.

And even for movies like Charm, Marvel’s Eternals and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the length of time you had to wait before they hit Disney Plus has varied. That return to a cinematic-only strategy helped boost the box office performance of those movies, but they are limited options for fans who got used to a greater choice about how, where and when to watch new movies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When is the Eternals release date and time on Disney Plus?

Eternals will land on Disney Plus early Wednesday morning, available to stream at no additional cost to all subscribers beginning at midnight PT (3am ET). Eternals will be part of the standard streaming catalog and will not require an additional fee to view. Some people refer to this as the date Eternals will air “free”, but everything on Disney Plus requires a paid subscription.

Like Shang-Chi, Eternals comes to Disney Plus much later in its release cycle than other Disney films over the last year. Wednesday’s streaming release date for Eternals is roughly 68 days after its big theatrical release.

While this streaming launch timeline is faster than the pre-pandemic norm, when normally a theatrical film would have taken five to eight months to reach Disney Plus, Eternals still had a cinema-exclusive period almost as long. long as some lasted before the pandemic. shook everything. Eternals was exclusively in theaters for about 68 days; the pre-pandemic rule for theatrical exclusives was about 75 to 90 days.

The difference now: Disney is essentially skipping Disney Plus ahead, making it first in line after theaters. Previously, formats like online rentals, Blu-ray and DVD would be the first home viewing options after a movie is shown in theaters, and the Disney Plus release date would follow months later. Starting early Wednesday, Eternals will hit Disney Plus at no additional cost the same day the movie is available to rent online on all major digital platforms like Amazon Video and the Apple TV app.

What’s the release date for Pixar’s Turning Red?

Pixar’s Turning Red will be available to stream on Disney Plus at no additional cost to all subscribers on March 11.

In every country where Disney Plus operates, Turning Red essentially skips theaters. In all countries where Disney Plus has not been released, the company will release the film in theaters, but has not yet announced when.

Pixar’s last two films, Soul in late 2020 and Luca in mid-2021, also came out this way.

But Disney hasn’t released a movie directly to Disney Plus since Jungle Cruise in July, and even then, Jungle Cruise was available to stream only by paying an additional $ 30 fee through its Premier Access model.

Can I stream Encanto ‘free’ on Disney Plus?

Yes, Encanto was available to stream on Disney Plus on December 24, at no additional cost to all subscribers. That was just a month after its theatrical release. As part of the standard streaming catalog, it doesn’t require an additional fee to view. Some people refer to Encanto as “free” to stream, but everything on Disney Plus requires a paid subscription.

That’s a longer wait than for other Disney movies that were released earlier in the pandemic. As mentioned above, Pixar’s Soul and Luca, for example, went straight to Disney Plus.

But it’s much faster than Disney’s theatrical releases on the streaming service before the pandemic. Before the pandemic, it typically took five to eight months for a movie to reach Disney Plus after hitting theaters. And it’s even faster than Eternals and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which were in theaters for about 68 and 70 days, respectively. Encanto came to Disney Plus after 30 days.

Why are Disney’s movie release plans all over the map?

Turning Red goes straight to the broadcast. Encanto went from theaters to Disney Plus in a month. Shang-Chi and Eternals spent nearly as much time in theaters as the pre-pandemic norm. What’s going on?

When the pandemic first struck, Disney made a big change to its movie-release practices. As theaters closed or reduced their capacity, Disney Plus became a way to bring new movies to a wider audience, especially as the backlog of movies grew.

Some Disney movies – typically mid-budget live-action movies and Pixar movies like Luca and Soul – skipped theaters entirely and were available to stream on Disney Plus at no additional cost. For larger movies, Disney Plus introduced its Premier Access model to sell streaming access to new movies on the big screen for an additional fee. Disney Plus members could stream new movies at home for $ 30 in addition to the subscription price. Disney has released five movies with this Premier Access option, most notably Marvel’s Black Widow in July.

Then, as vaccines expanded, Disney reintroduced movie exclusives, but with a shorter commitment to exclusively staying in theaters than before. The first film to hit theaters in this way was Free Guy, a video game comedy from Disney’s 20th Century Studios. It was released in theaters on August 13, with a 45-day commitment to be available in theaters only. Shang-Chi followed, hitting theaters (and theaters only) on September 3, also with a 45-day commitment.

But with theatergoers flocking to those movies, Disney extended its exclusive movie stints by more than 45 days. Shang-Chi was in theaters exclusively for about 70 days, almost reverting to the pre-pandemic norm that kept movies only in theaters for about 75 to 90 days.

Shang-Chi was a box office success. Shang-Chi’s box office performance didn’t keep pace with a pre-pandemic Marvel Cinematic Universe release like 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home. In the first four weeks of Spider-Man’s 2019 release, it grossed more. $ 340 million at the domestic box office, while Shang-Chi’s first four weeks barely crossed $ 200 million. But Shang-Chi still fared better at the box office than several Marvel movies before the pandemic, like 2015’s Ant-Man.

Shang-Chi essentially proved that for a movie that belongs to the world’s highest-grossing movie franchise, fans will reappear in theaters if they can’t see it at home. That’s one of the main reasons Disney turned to movie exclusives for its biggest movies.

And Disney makes some big budget movies. For those movies to be profitable in today’s Hollywood economy, they must be box office hits. Streaming movies the same day they hit theaters definitely plays in the best interests of consumers and fans, giving them the most choice on how and when to watch movies. But the same-day broadcast takes a bite out of the box office performance. Lately, movies like Shang-Chi and Spider-Man: No Way Home have shown that big franchises can fill theaters again.

But family movies, Pixar’s specialty, have struggled with movie attendance by comparison. Compared to other adult moviegoers, parents may be more fearful of taking their young children to crowded cinemas as the coronavirus continues to circulate and infections rise.

Putting Pixar movies directly on Disney Plus is, in essence, a strategy both to attract more subscribers and to keep the ones you already have. Kareem Daniel, the Disney executive in charge of distribution calls like this, noted in the Turning Red ad that both Soul and Luca were “greeted with enthusiasm” by Disney Plus subscribers when they went directly to the service.

And by shipping three Pixar movies directly to Disney Plus, Disney may also be protecting Pixar’s pristine reputation for critics. Y Blockbusters, according to some experts: If Disney doesn’t put Pixar movies in theaters, it can’t have a disappointing theatrical run.

Some of the upcoming smaller Disney movies have already been changed to be Disney Plus originals, skipping theaters entirely. This strategy applies mainly to mid-budget films, such as Pinocchio, a live-action remake starring Tom Hanks; a reboot of Peter Pan; Disenchanted, a sequel to Enchanted that will have Amy Adams reprising her role as princess; and Sister Act 3, reviving the nun comedy franchise.

But unlike those, Pixar’s Turning Red was destined for theatrical release until Friday. The film was on Disney’s calendar for its March 11 release in theaters for more than a year.

“Given the delayed recovery at the box office, particularly for family movies, flexibility remains at the core of our distribution decisions,” said Kareem Daniel, president of Disney’s media and entertainment distribution division, in a statement. about Turning Red.

Like the cuddly main character from Pixar’s upcoming romp, the new normal for Disney movie premieres is still changing shape.

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