The coronavirus has drastically altered the movie industry as we know it. As theaters remain closed in most places around the country, studios are scrambling to figure out a release strategy that keeps up with these new changes. After Universal saw success with their digital release of Trolls World Tour, they’re now looking to incorporate "Premium VOD" into their future business model. And movie theaters aren’t happy about it. But where does Disney stand on the matter?

On Disney’s Q2 earnings call yesterday, CEO Bob Chapek discussed the company’s stance on Premium VOD as a potential option for movie releases. He stated that Premium VOD would not replace Disney’s theatrical releases at all. However, other changes will manifest over time, including the decision to debut certain titles on Disney+ or other digital platforms. Said Chapek:

We very much believe in the value of the theatrical experience overall to launch blockbuster movies... But we also believe that either because of changing and evolving consumer dynamics or because of certain situations like COVID, we may have to make some changes to that overall strategy just because theaters aren’t open or aren’t open to the extent that anybody needs to be financially viable. So, we’re going to evaluate each of our movies as a case-by-case situation, as we are doing during right now during this coronavirus situation.

So far, Disney has decided to shift their upcoming release, Artemis Fowl, from theaters straight to Disney+ later this June. That’s the only title so far to face that change — everything else has been delayed until theaters are allowed to reopen. But now that we know Disney is open to the idea, we may see other non-blockbuster movies receive the same treatment. However, Marvel and Star Wars movies will almost certainly continue to be released in theaters, just as they were intended to be.

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