Disney set the streaming-only premiere date for live-action sci-fi fantasy “Artemis Fowl” on its Disney Plus service worldwide — hoping it gives more juice to the subscription VOD product while theaters are shuttered.
“Artemis Fowl,” directed by Kenneth Branagh, will be available exclusively on Disney Plus beginning Friday, June 12. It had originally been set for a May 29 theatrical debut.
Based on the best-selling YA book by Irish author Eoin Colfer, “Artemis Fowl” follows the journey of a 12-year-old criminal mastermind as he desperately tries to save his kidnapped father. Artemis must infiltrate an ancient, underground civilization of fairies — and track down the Aculos, the fairies’ most powerful and coveted magical device, to pay the ransom.
In a statement, Branagh said that Artemis Fowl would “be as proud as I am that families around the world will now be able to enjoy his first amazing screen adventures together, on Disney Plus.”
“Artemis Fowl” stars newcomer Ferdia Shaw in the title role alongside Lara McDonnell, Josh Gad, Tamara Smart, Nonso Anozie, Josh McGuire, Nikesh Patel and Adrian Scarborough, with Colin Farrell and Judi Dench. Branagh and Judy Hofflund are producing with Angus More Gordon and Matthew Jenkins serving as executive producers. Conor McPherson and Hamish McColl wrote the screenplay.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, Disney has postponed nearly every one of its forthcoming movie releases, including “Black Widow,” “Mulan,” “The New Mutants,” “The Eternals,” “Jungle Cruise” and “Indiana Jones 5.”
The media conglomerate is betting that “Artemis Fowl” will draw more subscribers into Disney Plus, which surpassed 50 million paying customers worldwide in its first five months. That’s been buoyed by its recent launch in India and eight Western European countries — along with the early release of “Frozen 2” on the subscription VOD service. In the U.S., Disney Plus is $6.99 monthly or $69.99 for a one-year plan.
Disney also released a new trailer for “Artemis Fowl” to promote the June 12 premiere: