Coming off the successful release of “Shang-Chi”, Disney announced on Friday that it would release “Eternals”, “West Side Story” and the rest of its 2021 movies to theatres exclusively before making them available on Disney+ streaming. The exclusive theatrical window will last 45 days for all releases through the end of 2021, except “Encanto”, which will run exclusively in theatres for 30 days beginning on 11/24 before it is made available to stream on Disney+ on 12/24.
For months, Disney had remained silent over its plans for its upcoming 2021 movie releases, having tested the waters with both exclusive streaming and day & date releasing during the pandemic. Leading up to the “Shang-Chi” Labor Day release, Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek had commented that the company’s return to a traditional theatrical release was an “interesting experiment”. It appears that the results were conclusive.