In a startling move, Disney has chosen to ship ‘Artemis Fowl’ directly to Disney+, forgoing a theatrical release altogether, and not even bothering with a digital rental option. This live-action film, based on the YA book series by Eoin Colfer, was already delayed from its prior scheduled release date of August 9, 2019, to May 29, 2020. This was viewed as the kick-off to an entire film franchise, as Colfer’s series consists of eight novels. But the delays seemed to hint that perhaps Disney didn’t have much faith in the adaptation. When the first trailer dropped, it implied that the movie had altered massive parts of the books’ storylines, including turning the titular character from a 12-year-old master criminal into a wide-eyed innocent.
Kenneth Branagh directed the film, which stars Irish newcomer Ferdia Shaw in the lead. The all-star cast also includes Nonso Anozie as young Artemis’ trusty butler, Butler, Dame Judi Dench as Commander Root of the fairies, Colin Farrell as Artemis Fowl Sr., Josh Gad as “giant dwarf” Mulch Diggums, and Lara McDonnell as Holly Short.
‘Artemis Fowl’ is the third major movie that has seen its theatrical release scuttled in favor of streaming. Paramount shifted its romantic comedy, ‘The Lovebirds’ starring Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae to Netflix, and Universal has opted to release ‘Trolls World Tour’ as a digital rental instead of rescheduling it for a later theatrical release.
It is curious that Disney has chosen not to offer ‘Artemis Fowl’ as a digital rental (average price, about $20 for two days). This would have allowed the studio to potentially make back some of what it would have earned from ticket sales. Delivering it via Disney+ basically equates to them giving it away for free. Yes, Disney+ has a fee attached, but it’s doubtful that anyone would sign up for a new membership just for this movie, so it’s not making any extra money from it. So Disney is essentially writing ‘Artemis Fowl’ off as a loss.
On the positive side, no one can go to the theater to see movies. We’re all stuck inside and many are turning to streaming services. This move means another new film to watch from the comfort of our living rooms. Plus, Disney+ kicked off with much fanfare, but it hasn’t delivered much since ‘The Mandalorian’ ended. At the very least, this big-budget film will help boost the appeal of Disney+.
Disney has also been forced to postpone the releases of its other upcoming releases ‘Black Widow’, ‘Mulan’, ‘New Mutants’, ‘Eternals’, ‘Jungle Cruise’, and ‘Bob’s Burgers’, but plans still call for those to hit multiplexes.
Are you excited that ‘Artemis Fowl’ will be released on Disney+ so you can enjoy it sooner rather than later?