Disney and Other Studios Release Schedules for Upcoming Movies in Theatres and on OTT Platforms

Disney has postponed and amended much of its slate, including several Marvel titles, numerous times amid the pandemic – Black Widow, Emma Stone’s Cruella, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Pixar’s Luca and several others.

Black Widow and Cruella will now premiere on Disney Plus and release in theaters at the same time. Cruella is scheduled for May 28, while Black Widow has been pushed back two months to July 9 instead of May 7. Both titles will be offered on Premier Access, which comes with a $30 rental fee. 

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings of Marvel which was previously set for early July was bumped back to Sept. 3. Unlike Black Widow and Cruella, it’s expected to have a traditional theatrical release.

Luca, Pixar’s upcoming animated coming-of-age adventure, on the other hand, will be launching exclusively on Disney Plus, at no extra cost, on June 18.

Numerous smaller titles, mostly those inherited from 20th Century, have been postponed, though solely for the big screen:

  • Free Guy on August 13, 2021
  • The King’s Man on December 22, 2021
  • Deep Water on January 14, 2022
  • Death on the Nile on February 11, 2022

Kareem Daniel, the chairman of Disney Media and Entertainment distribution, explained, “By leveraging a flexible distribution strategy in a dynamic marketplace that is beginning to recover from the global pandemic, we will continue to employ the best options to deliver The Walt Disney Company’s unparalleled storytelling to fans and families around the world.”  

With movie theatre in Los Angeles and New York City reopening recently, there has been a rising optimism among film exhibitors and some studio executives. However, the limited capacity (capped at 25% or or 100 people per auditorium in L.A. and 50 per auditorium in NYC), has restricted ticket sales proving to be almost impossible for big-budgeted movies (like Marvel films that cost over $200 million to produce) to profit in theaters alone. 

Disney had recently released an animated adventure movie for families, Raya and the Last Dragon, in theatres and on Disney Plus for a premium fee. The movie’s performance (making $23.4 million in the U.S. and $71 million globally) proved the gradual recovery of US’s movie market. However, movies with larger budgets like Black Widow or Shang-Chi would face financial losses with a similar result.

Raya And The Last Dragon' Trailer Looks 'That Good' of Disney
A still from Raya and the Last Dragon

Starting next year, the Warner Bros. studio will keep its movies in theaters for 45 days ahead of putting them on home entertainment. Paramount too plans to keep its new releases on the big screen for 45 days before moving them to the newly relaunched Paramount Plus streaming service. Meanwhile, Universal has forged its own model that enables the studio to offer its films on premium video-on-demand platforms after 17 days in theaters. In return, theater chains are getting a cut of digital profits.

Studio/Distributor FilmDate of Release
STXHorizon LineJan 12, 2021
Warner Bros.The Little ThingsJan 29, 2021
United ArtistsMinamataFeb 5, 2021
LionsgateBarb and Star Go to Vista Del MarFeb 12, 2021
United ArtistsBreaking News in Yuba County Feb 12, 2021
Warner Bros.Judas and the Black MessiahFeb 12, 2021
20th Century NomadlandFeb 19, 2021
Warner Bros.Tom and JerryFeb 26, 2021
ParamountThe United States vs. Billie HolidayFeb 26, 2021
ParamountComing 2 AmericaMar 4, 2021
ParamountSpongeBob: Sponge on the RunMar 4, 2021
DisneyRaya and the Last DragonMar 5, 2021
United ArtistsBad Trip Mar 26, 2021
Warner Bros.Godzilla vs. KongMar 31, 2021
Warner Bros.Mortal Kombat April 16, 2021
SonyThe Mitchells vs. The MachinesApr 30, 2021
ParamountWithout Remorse Apr 30, 2021
Warner Bros.Those Who Wish Me DeadMay 14, 2021
20th Century The Woman in the Window May 14, 2021
DisneyCruellaMay 28, 2021
Warner Bros.The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do ItJune 4, 2021
Warner Bros.In the HeightsJun 11, 2021
Sony FatherhoodJun 18, 2021
Disney LucaJun 18, 2021
DisneyBlack WidowJul 19, 2021
Warner Bros.Space Jam: A New LegacyJul 16, 2021
Warner Bros.The Suicide Squad Aug 6, 2021
Warner Bros.ReminiscenceSep 3, 2021
Warner Bros.Malignant Sep 10, 2021
Warner Bros.The Many Saints of NewarkSep 24, 2021
Warner Bros.DuneOct 1, 2021
Warner Bros.Cry MachoOct 22, 2021
Warner Bros.King RichardNov 19, 2021
Warner Bros.Matrix 4Dec 22, 2021
ParamountMy Little Pony2021
UniversalRun Sweetheart Run2021
Paramount The Tomorrow War2021
SonyWish Dragon2021
ParamountUnititled Paranormal Actitvity FilmTBD
Digital release schedule of upcoming movies in 2021.


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