In a flood of announcements from Disney's annual investor day presentation, the studio also dropped that Peter Pan and Wendy is officially in pre-production and will skip theaters to premier exclusively on Disney+. When Disney rolled Mulan direct to streaming, it was positioned as an extraordinary measure, meant to help offset the effects on the studio of the ongoing global health crisis. Mulan was available only to subscribers and, only then, after those same subscribers paid an additional premium viewing fee. Disney indicated that Peter and Wendy would also see its release follow the same model.
As Disney has released more information over the last several weeks on its new strategy that prioritizes its streaming operations and drive to build subscribers, the studio has made it clear that it will bolster its personnel and content schedule to support those properties. The studio has seemed to hold course, though, on certain of its titles, especially those with massively expensive above-the-line talent, like Jungle Cruise, with Dwayne Johnson.
Those films rely on their stars to promote and stars like Johnson almost certainly have gross participation deals that make moving to a streamer prohibitive. Titles like Cruella, Black Widow, Eternals and Shang-Chi will likely also hold on to their theatrical releases. Other titles, though, with lesser-known casts on standard compensation deals, are likely easier to reposition, or 'buy out'. Peter Pan and Wendy definitely fits that mold, along with others in the Disney live action remake portfolio. Interestingly enough, Peter and Wendy was originally planned for Disney+, but then got a theatrical release announcement, but now has been moved back to streaming exclusively.
David Lowery directs the Disney+ original, with Tom Holland as Peter Pan, Yara Shahidi playing Tinkerbell and Jude Law as Captain Hook with Alexander Molony and Ever Anderson in the roles of Peter and Wendy. Lowery and Toby Halbrooks are writing with Jim Whitaker and Joe Roth producing. The film will be a live-action adaptation of the classic 1953 animated hit, Peter Pan. Development on the film began April 13, 2016. The film was delayed from its original April 17, 2020 filming start date and was believed to be slated to restart March 8, 2021 with a wrap planned for June 30, 2021. However, at Disney's investor day, Disney CEO, Bob Chapek, reported that filming on all movies that had been suspended from March had resumed filming and finished principal photography, which would include Peter and Wendy.
Disney included, with its announcement, a brief, 22 second teaser for the film that certainly leaves much to be desired. One would think if principal photography had actually wrapped on the film that there could potentially be a bit more in the can to release to whet the appetites of movie consumers (and Disney investors). Alas, both groups will have to wait longer for a true trailer to drop sometime between now and the as yet unknown release date.