A couple of months after it got an early digital release, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will land on Disney Plus just in time for Star Wars Day on May 4. Subscribers to the Disney streaming service will be able to watch the final installment of the Skywalker Saga and all 11 Star Wars movies. Disney’s going hard with the Star Wars content this May 4, with a docuseries about the making of The Mandalorian on the way, along with the finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
The Rise of Skywalker didn’t technically have a Disney Plus release date before this. Disney had only said that it wouldn’t be released as early as the rental version. The digital version itself came out on March 13, four days ahead of its originally scheduled March 17 release date. The physical version of the movie came to stores on March 31.
This early Disney Plus release is the latest in a string of early releases for Disney. The first title to hit the platform early was Frozen 2, followed by Onward, which arrived just two weeks after it debuted in theaters. The reason behind these early releases is the recent rise in closures and highly encouraged social distancing all over the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With many businesses closing, especially movies theaters, Disney isn’t the only company that’s taken advantage of digital delivery to get movies to viewers a little early. Universal was the first to jump into the early digital rentals, releasing The Invisible Man, Emma., and The Hunt just a few days or weeks after they hit theaters. The studio also set Trolls: World Tour to launch for digital rental day-in-date with the film’s theatrical release — though it isn’t clear which theaters will actually be open to show the animated film.
Warner Bros. followed suit when it announced that both Birds of Prey, the Harley Quinn-led superhero movie, and Vin Diesel’s Bloodshot would both be coming to on-demand platforms on March 24.
All these early releases should give Disney fans something to do while they’re stuck inside trying to socially distance themselves. But the releases serve their own purpose for Disney as well. With theaters closed around the world, the studio — as well as several other studios — has had to push back the release of many of its summer blockbusters like Black Widow and Mulan. So these digital early releases and Disney Plus streaming options help keep Disney as people’s first choice in entertainment, even if they aren’t able to go see the latest Marvel movie.
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