Disney has made headlines in the last month with people on both sides of the aisle chiming in on their decision for the day-and-date release of the Scarlett Johansson Marvel franchise film Black Widow. Accusations, lawsuits, and last minute renegotiations all created backlash for both the studios and its talent. Yesterday Disney announced they will be upholding the contracts that were in place for the remainder of their 2021 slate.
“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.”
- 2021 Films
- 9/17/21 – The Eyes of Tammy Faye
- 10/15/21 – The Last Duel
- 10/22/21 – Ron’s Gone Wrong
- 10/22/21 – The French Dispatch
- 10/29/21 – Antlers
- 11/5/21 – Eternals
- 11/24/21 – Encanto
- 12/10/21 – West Side Story
- 12/17/21 – Nightmare Alley
- 12/22/21 – The King’s Man
Following the strong box office showing for Disney’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which more than tripled the Labor Day weekend box office record with $94.5 million, it matched the pace of Black Widow without its $105.9 million grossed in seven days. The Ryan Reynolds comedy Free Guy performed similarly well as a theatrical exclusive, earning $95 million domestically thus far. Conversely, Jungle Cruise starring Dwayne Johnson also did well in the box office despite also being available on Disney+. It tallied $107 million domestically, and Disney reported after the film’s first weekend that it made over $30 million in its Disney+ debut globally.
Disney’s blacklash stemming from the Scarlett Johansson lawsuit, as well as, their initial response to the accusation of the breach of contract has cost them more than money. The ripples of their much-publicized feud reached Joe and Anthony Russo, the directors behind the Marvel hits Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. The Russo brothers had been in talks to return for another superhero movie, but those discussions have hit an “impasse in negotiations” as the brothers are undecided on whether or not to continue with Disney.
Enduring the same fallout and lawsuits which could involve the likes of Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Matthew Vaughn, Angelina Jolie and countless other heavy hitters, it might be the difference of the corporate giant making a very, very big pile of money as opposed to a very big pile of money, as well as, needlessly burning bridges. However, with the current pandemic spurring the need for a re-evaluation of contracts and releases of films, the blame can’t only be laid at the studios’ feet. In the same breath, the talent can’t be expected to take the brunt of the hit, either. It’s a tricky situation for both sides, and I’m sure with both parties’ passion to make new movies, a new model will be created to accommodate all and assure movie theaters as whole continue thriving in future years.
The six remaining films include The Last Duel, opening on October 15, Ron’s Gone Wrong, opening on October 22, Eternals, opening on November 5, West Side Story, opening December 10 and The King’s Man opening on December 22. The films will all have at minimum 45-day windows. The animated film Encanto, opening November 24, will have a 30-day window.