A new trailer for Eternals made its debut during Monday night’s Tokyo Summer Olympics. Though the clip has no new footage, there is one giant piece of news that was quietly revealed. At the very end of the 45-second teaser, in big letters, it says “Only in Theaters November 5.”
MarvelUpdates captured the quick clip and shared it over Twitter.
A trailer for Chloé Zhao’s #Eternals aired during The Olympics.— Marvel Focus (@TheMarvelFocus) August 2, 2021
Starring Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, Gil Birmingham, Kit Harington, Salma Hayek, and Angelina Jolie.pic.twitter.com/pii4HAD3fa
This is pretty big news as Disney has released all of its films in dual format—theatrical and streaming—since the start of the pandemic. Nerdist learned from a source that this is accurate. And we also learned Free Guy, the film Disney has coming out next week, is also a theatrical exclusive. We can assume, therefore, that all of the studio’s big films going forward will follow suit.
This means that Disney is ending their dual-release strategy as soon as next week. While theaters have been widely open for several months now, they’ve been at reduced capacity. Most new release films have gotten simultaneous on-demand and theatrical debuts. Warner Bros. famously vowed all of its 2021 releases would go to theaters and its own streaming service HBO Max at no additional charge for subscribers.
Certainly we don’t expect WB to completely go back on its lofty promise; Disney had no such promises going in to the year. Their movies either went directly to Disney+, like Luca, or had a split theatrical and Disney+ Premier Access release. Either way, they made money. We can’t be sure why the sudden change to the House of Mouse, but it will be interesting to watch how the rest of the year unfolds, especially given low box office returns.
We are still, of course, in a worldwide pandemic. And the CDC just recently recommended a return to masking up, even for vaccinated individuals. If COVID-19 continues as is, or if more variants like the delta pop up, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities for Disney to rethink its seeming theater-only stance.
Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
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