Disney is to launch the rest of its 2021 films on the big screen before making them available for streaming, in a show of confidence in cinemas.
The decision by the Hollywood giant will provide an extra boost to venues following months of closure due to the pandemic.
Among the Walt Disney outputs that will get a theatrical release is Marvel’s Eternals on 5 November.
It follows the success of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – which took £92m globally in its first weekend – in cinemas this month.
Also bolstering morale for British cinema owners is the impending release of the latest James Bond film.
MGM’s No Time to Die will finally be premiered on 30 September after being rescheduled three times due to Covid.
It is anticipated that the 25th instalment of the 007 franchise will see cinemas returning to the level of popularity enjoyed before the pandemic hit the UK last March.
Which films have made the most money since the pandemic hit the UK?
- Peter Rabbit 2 – £20.3m
- Black Widow – £18.7m
- Tenet – £17.4m
- Fast & Furious 9 – £16.4m
- The Suicide Squad – £13.8m
Shang-Chi was referred to as an “interesting experiment for us” by Disney CEO Bob Chapek last month. Since the start of the pandemic, the company has released other films on its streaming platform simultaneously with cinemas.
Like Shang-Chi, Eternals will be available in cinemas for the first 45 days of its release before being uploaded to Disney’s subscription platform Disney+.
Directed by Nomadland creator Chloé Zhao, the film’s ensemble cast includes Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek and Gemma Chan as members of an immortal alien race.
It is understood that other major studios are likely to follow suit with Disney’s decision to resume in-theatre debuts.
In July, it was revealed that Scarlett Johansson was suing the company for breach of contract over its decision to not release Black Widow exclusively in cinemas.
While the film set a pandemic-era box office record during its opening weekend, grossing £157m globally, box office receipts then fell sharply, with Ms Johansson arguing that simultaneous streaming had led to a loss of income for her.