In an unprecedented move, Disney will release its upcoming adaptation of Eoin Colfer’s novel Artemis Fowl directly to Disney +, skipping its theatrical release altogether.
The film was originally slated to premiere on May 29th in theaters, and because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the studio has opted to pull its release, joining numerous other films that were supposed to come out this summer.
The company hasn’t said when the film will debut on the streaming service, other than to say that it will be sometime this summer. The film joins other Disney films, Frozen 2 and Onward, both of which have begun streaming months ahead of schedule.
With theaters closing due to the pandemic, numerous studios have moved up the home release and streaming release dates for a bunch of this spring’s films, like The Invisible Man, The Hunt, and Harley Quinn: Bird of Prey, and Bloodshot. But Artemis Fowl appears to be the first film of this year’s release schedule to skip its theatrical release altogether.
That’s unusual in normal circumstances. Studios and theatrical chains have usually hammered out agreements for exclusive windows for film releases, something that studios would be loathe to break (because they want theaters to carry those films), and which theater chains desperately need (otherwise, everyone will just stay home and not bother with sitting in a theater). Obviously, these aren’t normal times, and Artemis Fowl‘s release will likely be closely watched to see how well it will fare as a streaming-only offering.