Disney recently revealed that they are making a massive shift toward streaming. The company has completely reorganized to prioritize its direct-to-consumer offerings, which include Disney+ Hulu and ESPN+. While this will certainly have a huge effect on the future of theatrical releases, the company still plans to release movies in theaters in the future.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek did an interview shortly after the news was announced. When asked whether or not theatrical releases will still be part of the equation, Chapek explained that they still intend to give consumers that option in the future. Here's what he had to say about it.

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"As you know, we've benefitted from a tremendous relationship with theatrical exhibition for many, many, many years. As dynamics change in the marketplace, though, we want to make sure we're giving consumers, who want to go to theaters to experience everything that a theatrical release can give them, we want to make sure that we continue to give them that option."

Bob Chapek then dodged a question about how this will affect theatrical distribution in the future, be it with shorter exclusive theatrical windows on day-and-date releases, where a movie is released in theaters and digitally on the same day. "Consumer first" has been a term used a lot. The idea is that a group of people within the company will look at content that is generated and will then decide the best way to capitalize on it, be it through streaming or a more traditional release.

"What we want to do is leave it to a group of folks who can really see objectively. [We want to] make the optimal decision for the company, as opposed to somehow have it predetermined that a movie is destined for theaters or that a TV show is destined for ABC."

So it seems Disney will produce content in a pure creative manner and, once the product is finished, it will be decided whether or not it goes to a streaming service like Disney+, or to theaters to bring in some box office dollars. In all likelihood, Marvel movies, Star Wars entries and live-action remakes will still benefit from theaters once the world normalizes a bit. Speaking further, Bob Chapek emphasized that this is about consumers making the decisions.

"The consumers are actually going to be who makes these decisions. They're going to lead us in the way that they make their transactional decisions. Right now, they're voting with their pocketbooks and they're voting very heavily towards Disney+. What we want to do is make sure we're going to go the way that consumers want us to go."

Disney+ has amassed more than 60 million subscribers since launching last November and the company has more than 100 million subscribers across its various streaming platforms. With theaters facing an uncertain future and the box office faltering, the shift makes sense, financially speaking. Bob Chapek also promised that everyone will learn more in December when Disney has its next investor conference. This news comes to us via CNBC.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott