Disney’s “Artemis Fowl” will forgo a theatrical release and will instead launch on Disney Plus. The sci-fi fantasy was scheduled to open on May 29, but the coronavirus pandemic has led to the closure of most movie theaters.
Disney has overhauled the release dates for most of its upcoming films — shifting everything from “Captain Marvel 2” to “Indiana Jones 5” while it tries to game out how long the public health crisis will last.
“Artemis Fowl” had looked like a dicey commercial proposition. It was originally slated to open on Aug. 9, 2019, but its release was pushed back by a year even before the pandemic swept across the globe. However, its digital debut will likely draw attention to Disney Plus at a time when streaming services are surging in popularity. It gives Disney Plus a big-budget original offering.
“With audiences largely unable to attend theatres in the current environment, we are thrilled to offer the premiere of ‘Artemis Fowl’ on Disney Plus,” said Ricky Strauss, president of content and marketing at Disney Plus. “Director Kenneth Branagh and his spectacular cast take viewers right into the vibrant, fantasy world of the beloved book, which fans have been waiting to see brought to life onscreen for years. It’s great family entertainment that is the perfect addition to Disney Plus’s summer lineup.”
Along with “Artemis Fowl,” Disney has also postponed “Black Widow,” “Mulan,” “The New Mutants,” “The Eternals,” “Jungle Cruise,” “Bob’s Burger” and nearly every one of its forthcoming releases.
So far, only Universal’s “Trolls World Tour” and Paramount’s “The Lovebirds” have opted to entirely skip a theatrical release and debut those movies on demand.
Every major studio has been impacted by the closure of theaters. Paramount pushed back the release for “Top Gun: Maverick,” as well as its sequel to “A Quiet Place,” while Universal has delayed “Minions: The Rise of Gru” and “Fast & Furious” entry “F9.” MGM’s James Bond installment “No Time to Die” was the first high-profile movie to get pushed back due to the spread of the virus.
Directed by Kenneth Branagh, “Artemis Fowl” centers on a teen genius, a descendant of a criminal masterminds, as he journeys on a quest to find his missing father. The cast includes Ferdia Shaw, Josh Gad, Colin Farrell and Judi Dench.