Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
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Three Folio Eddie award wins: 2018 science & technology writing (Cartoon bunnies are hacking your brain), 2021 analysis (Deepfakes' election threat isn't what you'd think) and 2022 culture article (Apple's CODA Takes You Into an Inner World of Sign)
The musical, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, tells the story of US founding father (and first Treasury Secretary) Alexander Hamilton. The Thomas Kail-directed movie is actually the stage show, shot in 2016 with the original Broadway cast.
Disney's change underscores how disruptive the pandemic has been to Hollywood studios' meticulously planned release cycles. With theaters closed and coronavirus preventive measures keeping people stuck at home, studios have mostly decided to keep pushing back the theatrical release dates for mega-budget pictures. Their tentpole movies in a holding pattern, studios could be setting themselves up to release a glut of movies on top of each other, crimping ticket sales.
Universal, for example, released Trolls World Tour, the sequel to the 2016 animated film, as an online rental the same day it premiered in a small number of cinemas in April. It generated as much money from digital sales in three weeks as the first Trolls film made during a five-month run in theaters.
Hamilton will be the second Disney movie skipping theaters. Artemis Fowl, a sci-fi fantasy based on young-adult novel series, will go straight to streaming June 12, after it had been planned for theatrical release in May originally.
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But Disney, so far, is holding all its big-budget potential blockbusters for theatrical release. The first up is the live-action remake of Mulan, which is scheduled to hit theaters July 24. Black Widow -- the next Marvel Cinematic Universe movie -- is still slated for theaters Nov. 6. Disney CEO Bob Chapek said that the company is evaluating each movie on a case-by-case basis and that Disney may need to modify its plans if theaters remain closed -- or if theaters reopen too narrowly for a theatrical release to make enough money.
But "we very much believe in the value of the theatrical experience overall to launch blockbuster movies," he said.
It isn't clear if Hamilton will get a theatrical release after this, but it seems unlikely. Disney didn't respond to a request for comment.