‘Eternals’ won’t come to Disney Plus while in theaters, new leak claims

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Earlier this week, we were wondering whether Eternals would stick to its current release schedule. The massive Marvel project saw its fair share of delays during the pandemic. Disney and Marvel then ultimately pushed it back to November 5th, 2021. The plan for Eternals was to give it a regular theatrical release. This meant the film would not hit Disney Plus on the same day as cinemas. The pandemic then worsened in the US and other western countries. We saw increased speculation that Disney and Marvel could delay the Eternals release. Or the film could get a hybrid release like Black Widow.

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The Black Widow scandal

Disney CEO Bob Chapek said soon after the Scarlett Johansson scandal spilled into the public that the Shang-Chi experiment will help Disney decide what to do with following releases like Eternals.

Black Widow turned out to e the biggest movie launch of the pandemic. Disney Plus contributed a sizable chunk of the revenue. Disney was thrilled with the Premier Access performance in mid-July. Black Widow was the first film where Disney revealed streaming sales.

But the Black Widow hybrid release also unearthed the massive conflict between Disney and Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson. The actress sued Disney, alleging that the studio breached the contract by going for a day-and-date release. Disney handled the matter anything but elegantly, showing that Chapek was less interested in playing nice with talent. Disney Plus revenue seemed to be a priority, however.

Marvel chief Kevin Feige said during the Shang-Chi red carpet premiere that he would prefer Eternals to have a theatrical-only premiere. At the time, the number of coronavirus cases was already on the rise, with some studios contemplating delays. Since mid-August, we witnessed such moves, with Top Gun: Maverick being one of the big 2021 titles pushed back to 2022.

Eternals not going to Disney Plus Premier Access

But then Shang-Chi’s experiment was successful. The movie delivered new pandemic records for Marvel. It didn’t beat Black Widow’s opening weekend, which included Disney Plus sales. But Shang-Chi brought in nearly $95 million over the four-day Labor Day weekend.

Matthew Belloni, formerly of The Hollywood Reporter, said in his newsletter that Marvel’s Eternals is getting an exclusive theatrical release. Chapek apparently made up his mind after the Shang-Chi success:

After Disney CEO Bob Chapek basically dared Shang-Chi to perform in theaters over Labor Day weekend, and it did $94 million domestically, he couldn’t possibly put Eternals on Disney [Plus] day-and-date, right? I’m told Chapek and distribution chief Kareem Daniels have made their decision on the November movie’s fate, and it will indeed receive an exclusive theatrical run. (Disney declined to comment.) Marvel’s Kevin Feige and Angelina Jolie’s agents can exhale now.

Disney is yet to make any official announcement, however.

Spider-Man: No Way Home buzz aside, Eternals is the most ambitious and exciting Marvel project of the year. It features a team of 10 superheroes previously unseen in MCU movies. Also, there’s an eleventh character that will become a hero down the road. On top of the great ensemble cast for Eternals, we’ll also get the cinematographic vision of Oscar winner Chloé Zhao, who has both written and directed the film.

Those Marvel fans looking to skip theaters for the foreseeable future should know that Eternals should reach Disney Plus 45 days after its theatrical debut. This means the film will probably land on Disney’s streaming service by the end of 2021.

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