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Disney announces upcoming release plans, including theatrical exclusivity for 2021

Eternals
(Image credit: Marvel/Disney)

Disney's remaining slate of 2021 movies will get exclusive theatrical releases, the company has announced. This includes Marvel movie Eternals and Steven Spielberg's West Side Story remake. 

Each new release will have a 45-day window in which they'll screen exclusively in cinemas before arriving on Disney Plus apart from the animated musical Encanto. The animated adventure will have a 30-day release so that it'll arrive on the streamer in time for Christmas. This decision was likely sparked by the success of Free Guy and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, two theatrical exclusives that brought in huge box office numbers for Disney. 

There's been some controversy about Disney's decision to release several movies simultaneously on Disney Plus and in theaters over the past year – Black Widow star Scarlett Johnasson has sued the House of Mouse, claiming that the studio violated her contract with the movie's hybrid release. It was also rumored that Emma Stone and Emily Blunt would follow suit, as their respective blockbusters Cruella and Jungle Cruise also received the same treatment. However, these lawsuits never came to fruition and Stone is now on board for a Cruella sequel

Disney also announced that its live-action Little Mermaid remake, starring Halle Bailey as Ariel, will hit the big screen on May 26, 2023, in time for Memorial Day weekend. Other new release dates include Guillermo del Toro's Nightmare Alley, which has been pushed back from December 3 to December 17, 2021, and has been given a wider release, and the Bob's Burgers movie, which will come out on May 27, 2022. Oh, and there are four new Marvel movies coming our way in 2022, too. 

The first of these releases to arrive exclusively in theaters is The Last Duel on October 15, a medieval drama from Ridley Scott from 20th Century Studios, which comes under the Disney umbrella. While we wait, check out our list of the best movies on Disney Plus that you can stream right now.

I’m an Entertainment Writer at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections – I help bring you all the latest news and the occasional feature, too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.