‘The King’s Man’ In The Crosshairs As Streaming Encroaches On Theatrical Distribution

Now that Wonder Woman 1984 has changed the world in regards to day-and-date releases between movie theaters and streaming services, every film on the calendar has the potential to end up streaming first or along its premiere in theaters. And, as Variety notes, The King’s Man could very easily become a Disney+ or Hulu exclusive.

The film, starring Ralph Fiennes (as T.E. Lawrence!), Gemma Arterton, and Djimon Honsou, takes Mark Millar‘s Kingsmen concept back to its origins with the group fighting Rasputin (Rhys Ifans) and an earth-shattering intrigue buried within the Great War. Produced by 20th Century Fox before it merged with Disney and became 20th Century Studios, it was part of a seemingly endless Kingsmen film series. Now, its future is not so certain.

For one thing, the film is slated for release on February 12th — roughly a year after its originally scheduled debut — a date which feels less and less solid here in a week when COVID-19 infection numbers break records with each passing day. Lockdowns and shelter-at-home orders seem likely and despite the promise of a vaccine, February may still be a time before people feel comfortable at in-door movie theaters. And should Wonder Woman 1984 prove successful in the arcane metric of streaming services, there’s a good possibility for the film to switch over to one of the Disney services.

Of course, the same was said about New Mutants, the last film in 20th’s X-Men franchise. Preexisting contracts meant it had to be released theatrically and it did so in August. It likely fared better than it would have in any of its previous release windows. The King’s Man may operate under similar obligations, but it is unclear if that would prevent a day-and-date release on, say, Hulu.

Variety reports a far number of films scheduled for an early 2021 release may soon find themselves on streaming services, which once again changes the nature of theatrical runs and puts fruther doubts on theaters to regain dominance in the marketplace. Well, at least in the US anyways. And while many of these films may end up seen by more people thanks to streaming, the tentpole releases like Die Another Day and — as grim as this sounds — Black Widow may continue to be delayed so they can be crowned the savior of movie theaters.

As with everything related to COVID-19, the situation changes quickly; the adoption and efficacy rates of the vaccine could make February a very different month than it looks from here. Either way, though, we’ll be surprised if another Kingsmen film will be made by 20th Century Studios.

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