Disney announced Thursday that Artemis Fowl, previously slated for theatrical release, will now premiere exclusively on their streaming service beginning on Friday, June 12.
Director Kenneth Branagh said in a statement:
“Artemis Fowl is a true original. In challenging times, a twelve year old criminal mastermind is one heck of a travelling companion. Smart, funny, and cool as mustard, he’ll take you to new worlds, meet unforgettable characters, and mix magic with mayhem. His own family is everything to him, and (although he’d never admit it), he’d be as proud as I am that families around the world will now be able to enjoy his first amazing screen adventures together, on Disney +.”
Our original report from April 3rd follows.
Disney is making major changes to its upcoming slate of theatrical releases. Perhaps the most surprising shift involves Artemis Fowl, which will now bypass movie theaters entirely and instead debut on the Disney+ streaming service.
This is the latest setback for director Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of the YA fantasy novels. After spending years in development hell at Disney, Artemis Fowl was originally scheduled to release on August 9, 2019, before being pushed back to May 29, 2020. Disney will reveal the new streaming release date at a later time, suggesting that May 29 release is no longer in the cards.
Artemis Fowl is the most significant example yet of a major 2020 movie shifting from a theatrical release to streaming in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, Universal revealed Trolls World Tour, The Invisible Man, The Hunt and Emma were all headed to video on-demand. Meanwhile, other blockbusters like Onward, Birds of Prey, and Sonic the Hedgehog had their theatrical runs cut short and pivoted to VOD releases.
Given the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and when it’ll be safe to reopen movie theaters in the US, it is doubtful Artemis Fowl will be the last example of a major 2020 blockbuster switching to streaming. Disney’s New Mutants (which was supposed to be released on April 3) seems another likely candidate for VOD as Disney curiously did not provide a new release date for it in their announcement Friday.
For more on the pandemic’s growing effects on the entertainment industry, check out our breakdown of every film and TV project delayed so far, and learn why AMC is facing major financial troubles as a result.
And to prep for Artemis Fowl’s long-awaited release, here’s how you can bundle Disney+ and Hulu.
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.