After Disney announced that Jungle Cruise would be the next big Disney production that would have a hybrid release of in theaters and Premier Access, some people were wondering if this was going to be the norm going forward. It's likely going to be something that theaters and studios have in the future but, for now, we're still looking at movie theater exclusive experiences. It seems that while Disney is a bit more hesitant that people will want to return to theaters right away with the Jungle Cruise change that they made today, they do have confidence that people will be going back to theaters eventually but with some changes. Bob Chapek announced during the Disney Investor Call today that both Free Guy and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be coming to theaters, August 13th and September 3rd, respectively, with a 45-day window instead of a 90-day window.
This isn't that surprising of a change, to be honest. The 90-day window was a model that really needed to get thrown out a long time ago and if shortening it in half is one of the biggest long-term changes that come out of the pandemic when it comes to theaters, it's likely a good one. So many people rely on streaming and VOD these days, and it just makes sense that these windows need to shorten. Disney is going to want to take advantage of having a service like Disney+, and having the shorter window keeps Disney on decent terms with the theater companies, as they still maintain the exclusive theatrical experience while also making sure to keep eyes on their streaming service. However, it was unclear whether movies like Free Guy or Shang-Chi would just come to Disney+ after that 45-day window is up or if there would be some sort of Premier Access type of thing. We'll have to see if Disney releases more details soon.