Disney Is Making You Wait Longer and Longer to Stream Marvel Movies     – CNET

Disney Is Making You Wait Longer and Longer to Stream Marvel Movies – CNET

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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will take longer to start streaming on Disney Plus than any other Marvel movie in the pandemic era — and that may not bode well for how long you’ll have to wait to stream the Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy sequels hitting theaters soon.

For a while, it seemed like Disney and other big Hollywood movie studios might be falling into a new post-COVID rhythm for how long they kept flicks in theaters before streaming them, one that was much faster than before in shuttling films to a streaming service. 

But now streaming release dates are all over the map. And for the biggest films, like Marvel’s, the waits seem to be stretching out longer and longer.

When will Black Panther: Wakanda Forever start streaming? 

Disney has confirmed the sequel will start streaming on Disney Plus on Feb. 1, more than three months after hitting theaters. 

Last year, Marvel released three films in theaters: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in May, Thor: Love and Thunder in July and Wakanda Forever in mid-November. Doctor Strange took 47 days to reach Disney Plus. Thor: Love and Thunder hit Disney Plus 62 days after its theatrical release.

Now Wakanda Forever will take 82 days to start streaming. 

That’s the longest that a Marvel movie has spent in theaters before streaming on Disney Plus since the company resumed theatrical exclusives in 2021. That year, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was in theaters for 70 days and Eternals for 68 days. 

(Whether a coincidence or not, the Marvel film that Disney gave the shortest theatrical exclusive among them, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, also had the best overall box office performance. Multiverse grossed more than $955 million worldwide. Wakanda Forever is at almost $822 million.)

And lately, big Hollywood companies like Disney aren’t prioritizing streaming-subscriber growth nearly as much as they did, depressing the incentive to bring big movies to a service quickly. 

Paramount, for example, kept Top Gun: Maverick off its streaming service for 209 days, nearly seven months. The strategy paid dividends at the box office. The Top Gun sequel has grossed more than $1.4 billion to become the world’s No. 1 theatrical release last year. 

Disney has been much more aggressive than Paramount in getting its movies onto its streaming service quickly, but Disney is starting to show that it may be holding back its big-budget films longer in theaters too. With Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania set to hit theaters next month, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 following in May, you could be waiting more than three months to stream each of them if they stick to Wakanda Forever’s pace. 

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Joan E. Solsman

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