Yesterday, The Walt Disney Company published its revamped release schedule through the end of 2021. Understandably, attention has focused on the delays of tentpole features like Marvel’s Black Widow and Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story.
But the latest round of coronavirus reshuffling has resulted in a unique situation for animation lovers. For the first time in its history, Disney is planning to release four animated features in the space of three months. As things stand, Raya and the Last Dragon is due out on March 12, the Bob’s Burgers feature on April 9, Ron’s Gone Wrong on April 23, and Luca on June 18 (all 2021).
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that those dates may not stick. Yet the fact that Disney has settled on this schedule feels like a tacit acknowledgment that animated features can complement each other by targeting different groups — in other words, that they aren’t all for families.