Disney will be considering more films for streaming, but will that affect the Star Wars universe?
One thing has become very apparent over the last few years, and especially over the last few months now that families have been at the home more often: movie theaters are becoming a thing of the past. This was solidified by Disney this week when they announced a new approach to the release of its content.
On Monday, Disney CEO Bob Chapek told CNBC that they’ll essentially be considering traditional big-ticket movies for streaming releases instead of a theatrical release. Chapek said on Closing Bell, “[Consumers] are going to lead us. Right now they are voting with their pocketbooks, and they are voting very heavily toward Disney+. We want to make sure that we are going the way the consumers want us to go.”
So, as most major movies are typically considered to have a theatrical release before they hit the home entertainment market, that first option may be cut altogether now. The profit will be what Disney is watching, which means we may see a significant cut of movies that play in theaters over the next few years — especially from Disney. We’ve seen this happen with Netflix for a while now, and Disney has been taking that approach, especially during these times. Pixar’s Soul, for example, will be the net film to go straight to streaming come Dec. 25.
But what about Star Wars, a property that now falls under the Disney belt? When it comes to original content, we’ve already seen that The Mandalorian has become a Disney+ darling. It was the flagship show for Disney+’s launch, and it hasn’t fallen in popularity since. With season 2 around the corner on Oct. 30, it’s also leading the wave of new Star Wars/Disney+ spinoff shows coming, including an Obi-Wan Kenobi series and a Cassian Andor series.
TV shows have always been meant to be watched at home; there’s no change there. But what can we expect for its movies? So far, there’s a Star Wars movie scheduled to come out in 2023 (though that’s subject to change). Certainly, the original plan was for it to come out in theaters. But with Disney now putting the possibility of having some of its movies be considered for streaming, this also means the Star Wars movie isn’t safe from Disney+’s shadow.
The good news is, what used to be a way to quietly put out subpar-quality content has actually become a way for good content to reach more audiences. Of course, the straight-to-video movies Disney churned out in the past were of questionable quality. But now, streaming films are about on par with theatrical films, some even better. The Mandalorian, for instance, is movie-quality work and in no way cuts corners just because it’s on television. So this may just be the fate of some upcoming Star Wars movies.
Of course, you can’t beat the feeling of going to the movie theater with a crowd. You get to witness it with other people and hear their reactions. And some of people’s best moments in Star Wars have come from lining up at the theater, putting on their best cosplay, and watching it with fellow fans. That’s something you lose when you’re at home watching movies, and it’s certainly an experience that just doesn’t compare.
Overall, it will be a wait-and-see moment as streamers battle it out with “traditional platforms,” as Chapek called it. But ultimately, as he said, it’s up to the people. If fans will demand to see movies in theaters in the future, there still may be a bright road ahead for Star Wars and other movies down the line.
What do you think about Disney’s streaming plan? Let us know in the comments.