Walt Disney Co. executive chairman Bob Iger said a few movies may drop on Disney Plus before they hit theaters as the COVID-19 pandemic has shutdown movie theaters.

What’s going on:

  • Disney announced last week that “Artemis Fowl” — originally slated for a summer 2019 release in theaters — would be sent straight to Disney Plus, a modern way of sending movies straight to video or DVD.
  • Iger told Barron’s that “Artemis Fowl” may not be the only film to receive the same treatment.
  • Iger said: “In terms of movies going ahead after ‘Artemis,’ there may be a few more that we end up putting directly onto Disney Plus, but for the most part a lot of the big tentpole Disney films, we’ll simply wait for slots. In some cases, we’ve announced new ones already, but later on in the calendar.”

What other films?

  • For awhile, social media speculation chose “Black Widow” and “Mulan” as potential films to skip the movie theaters and drop right on Disney Plus. But these, as Iger said, are tentpole films that will be moved to different opening slots as needed.
  • But a film like “The New Mutants” — a film about young mutant superheroes, which was taken off the calendar — has been rumored to drop on Hulu before it hits theaters, according to Deadline.

The context

  • These decisions come as studios try to adjust to the coronavirus pandemic, which has left movie theaters shuttered across the world. Disney, for example, released “Onward” on Disney Plus and on demand earlier than expected because its theater run was cut short.
  • In a similar light, Universal Studios dropped “The Hunt” and “The Invisible Man” early on video- n demand. The studios will similarly release “Trolls World Tour” early as well.
  • These studios have also moved the release dates for their films. Disney and Marvel shifted every single Marvel Cinematic Universe film in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Studios like Sony and Universal took similar measures, pushing films to later this year or 2021.