More bad news for America's struggling movie theaters: Disney has overhauled its slate of upcoming movies and delayed potential blockbuster Black Widow once again. Both Black Widow and Cruella will now be released on Disney Plus Premier Access for $30 at the same time they appear in cinemas, Variety reports. Black Widow's release date has been pushed back from May 7 to July 9, while Cruella will be released in theaters and on the streaming service on May 28. Before the pandemic hit, Black Widow's original release day was May 1, 2020. Disney has also announced that new Pixar movie Luca will be released straight to Disney Plus on June 18 with no theatrical release, reports NBC.
The Black Widow shift means another Marvel movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, has been bumped from July to September. It is expected to have a traditional theatrical release, per Variety. Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney's distribution division, says the company is "leveraging a flexible distribution strategy in a dynamic marketplace that is beginning to recover from the global pandemic." The Disney Plus releases will be a blow to theaters hoping to lure patrons back, but Anthony D'Alessandro at Deadline notes that the upside for Disney is clear. "They get to keep 100% of the cash. There’s no splitting of grosses which is the case with theaters," he writes. "One million purchases of Black Widow or Cruella at $30 apiece translates to $30M. End of story." (Read more Disney stories.)