If you’re a Disney fan who regularly watches new releases, then you’ve probably noticed the pattern surrounding theatrical releases by now.
The pandemic-era practice of enjoying new releases immediately on streaming services like Disney+ (or Disney Plus) seems to have changed the entertainment industry for good. Audiences are more selective than ever about what they are willing to watch in theaters.
There are a few factors contributing to this.
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For one, films are getting longer than ever before, but the audiences’ patience is not evolving alongside it. From Marvel Studios blockbusters to James Cameron’s newest Avatar film, it’s challenging to find a live-action movie or property ultimately owned by Walt Disney Studios shorter than 3 hours.
Many audiences are much more comfortable watching longer movies from home, where they can pause the movie whenever they want to use the restroom and sit on comfy couches instead of movie theater seats.
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Another driving factor is how expensive movie theaters have gotten. Tickets, snacks, candies, and drinks have become inexplicably more costly than ever, making audiences less keen on visiting.
Whatever the reason may be, it’s clear that audiences are not as interested in watching films at the movie theater anymore. As a result, Disney may be leaving more expensive films in movie theaters for longer to get its money’s worth at the box office.
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For example, the standard length of a Disney theatrical run before being released on Disney+ is usually 45 days. Still, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) was moved to Disney+ nearly 50 days after being released in theaters. Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) didn’t move to Disney+ for over 60 days.
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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) isn’t due to become available on Disney+ until February, spending over 80 days in theaters.
Is this an attempt for Disney to get its money’s worth at the box office or to entice audiences into theaters? We can’t confirm this for sure, but it’s something to consider while waiting for upcoming films to come to Disney+.