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'Luca' Going Straight to Disney+ Online Streaming Service

Posted on Thursday, March 25, 2021 4:34 PM

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The upcoming Disney Pixar movie, Luca, is going straight to home video. It will be released only on Disney's Disney+ streaming service June 18, 2021.

Unlike Mulan and Raya and the Last Dragon, which debuted as "Premiere Access" releases that commanded an additional rental fee of $30, Luca will be released as part of the monthly subscription fee. The company took this approach in December with Soul.

Once upon a time, movie studios reserved "straight to video" releases for lukewarm sequels or other movies they knew wouldn't be worth spending significant amounts of money publicizing for a theatrical release. Audiences knew what they were getting, which was usually a pale follow-up to the original movie or a phoned-in performance from actors that weren't being called for leading roles.

However, now movie studios are using movies originally intended for theatrical release to bolster their private-label streaming services. They are treating the investment of making the movie as a marketing expense for their fledgling streamer in the hopes of attracting and retaining the recurring monthly subscription fees.

Soul ended up being a well-regarded movie, and it even garnered three Academy Award nominations, including Best Animated Feature Film. Many other movies that were nominated were never seen in theaters by most people.

Are we seeing the inflection point, or are we seeing a massive marketing experiment? Time will tell...

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