Disney will premiere Black Widow and Cruella in theatres and on its streaming platform Disney Plus on the same day, the Hollywood studio announced on Monday. Both films were previously meant to be released only in cinemas.

The renewed surge in Covid-19 infections in many countries, the capping of capacity in most cinemas across the world, and the uneven pace of vaccination are among the reasons Hollywood studios with movies aimed at a global market remain skittish about returning to theatres. In India, Disney Plus is available as Disney+ Hotstar.

Black Widow, a Marvel Cinematic Universe spin-off starring Scarlett Johansson, has a new release date: instead of May 7, the movie will be launched on July 9. Cruella, the origin story of the villain Cruella de Vil from One Hundred and One Dalmations, will be released on May 28 as scheduled. The movie stars Emma Stone, Emma Thompson and Mark Strong.

“By leveraging a flexible distribution strategy in a dynamic marketplace that is beginning to recover from the global pandemic, we will continue to employ the best options to deliver The Walt Disney Company’s unparalleled storytelling to fans and families around the world,” Kareem Daniel, the chairperson of Disney Media and Entertainment distribution, said in a statement quoted by Variety.

Black Widow (2021).

Disney has moved the release dates of other projects too. Death on the Nile, Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of the Agatha Christie classic, will be released on February 11, 2022. The movie’s cast includes Indian actor Ali Fazal.

The Marvel adventure Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will now be released on September 3 instead of July. Among the scheduled theatrical releases are Free Guy (August 13), The King’s Man (December 22) and Deep Water (January 14, 2022).

The Pixar animated film Luca will be be streamed directly on Disney Plus. Disney had previously released Raya and the Last Dragon on Disney Plus on March 3.

Cruella (2021).