Frozen 2 debuted in theaters last year and was predictably a smash hit. The animated movie was going to stream on Disney+ sometime around June this year. But Disney has now decided to speed up its debut on Disney+ to March 15, this Sunday, as announced by Bob Chapek, CEO of The Walt Disney Company:
"'Frozen 2 has captivated audiences around the world through its powerful themes of perseverance and the importance of family, messages that are incredibly relevant during this time, and we are pleased to be able to share this heartwarming story early with our Disney+ subscribers to enjoy at home on any device."
While Chapek was careful not to make any direct reference to the Coronavirus outbreak the world is currently grappling with, he did express a hope that the movie would provide a measure of comfort "for families during these challenging times."
Usually, Disney waits seven months after a film's theatrical debut before putting it up for streaming on Disney+. This allows for the movie to have a full run in theaters and also make maximum profits from home video sales before showing up online. As of now, this exception has only been announced for Frozen 2, with other films in the Disney catalog sticking to their regular release schedules.
The sequel to Frozen takes up the tale of sisters Elsa and Anna from the end of the first film. The two discover a trail of clues that indicate that their parents might still be alive and in need of their help. This sets them off on another adventure filled with colorful characters, moments of grave danger, and more songs than you can shake a snowman at.
While many critics felt the movie was an unnecessary add-on that repeated the most popular elements of the original Frozen with new songs, the sequel shot to the top of the box-office immediately upon release and ended its run as the highest-grossing animated film of all time.
With such massive profits already in the bank, Disney can well afford to be generous in putting up the film for streaming earlier than planned, even if it cuts into the profits they would have made with Frozen 2's home release.
Meanwhile, the rest of Disney's slate of movies in production or gearing up for release according to their regular schedule continue to grapple with the effect of the Coronavirus on the box office. Theater chains are shutting down one after another. Movie production crews are in a state of great fear after news of Tom Hanks and his wife contracting the virus on the sets of their movie broke a few days ago.
It is being predicted that the danger posed by going outside these days, a state of affairs that will continue for months or possibly even years, will force Disney and other studios to focus more on bolstering their online streaming options and animated films. And Disney, with its history of animated features and Disney+ having finally entered the online streaming competition, is uniquely suited to lead the charge in exploring these options. This news comes direct from The Walt Disney Company.