Disney is once again truncating the streaming release window, as ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ will be rolling onto Disney+ on May the 4th (be with you), following its digital release on March 17, and physical release on March 31. Disney already bumped up the PVOD (paid video on demand) release at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, as non-essential employees began quarantining at home. The delay between home video and streaming is usually about three months, so Disney is sending ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ to streaming roughly two months early.
‘The Rise of Skywalker’ has been the #1 selling home video release for a solid month at this point.
This follows a similar expedited release on Disney+ of ‘Frozen 2’ which became available to stream in early March, just two weeks after it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD/4K. That was three months before it was expected to hit Disney+. The company also released ‘Onward’ to Disney+ early, after its theatrical release was cut short due to the coronavirus shutdowns.
On April 3, Disney announced that ‘Artemis Fowl’, the live-action adaptation of the YA books by Eoin Colfer, was going straight to Disney+, bypassing both the planned theatrical release and a VOD period.
‘Star Wars’ fans are going to be glued to their TVs or mobile devices, as Disney+ is also releasing ‘Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian’ and the final episode of ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ on that same date. Rumor has it, a bunch of merchandising will also be released on that date, possibly including the highly-anticipated Funko Pop of ‘The Mandalorian’s meme sensation The Child. But that’s just a RUMOR for now.
Disney has been hit harder than most studios by the coronavirus shutdowns, as not only are theaters around the world closed, but so are the lucrative theme parks. The early Disney+ releases are a nice token to fans, but don’t expect the big-ticket releases like ‘Black Widow’ or ‘Mulan’ to go to streaming early. Last year, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ made over two billion dollars at the box office to become the highest-grossing movie of all time, and the live-action adaptations of ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Aladdin’ both made over one billion in theaters. Disney isn’t going to give up on these movies that might do similarly well in theaters… whenever they reopen.
Are you excited that ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ is heading home so soon?