Disney will release Raya and the Last Dragon as a Premier Access title the same day it hits theaters, on March 5th, 2021, the company announced today. Disney did not provide a price for the movie, but when Mulan shifted to Premier Access, it charged $30 for the title.
Similar to WarnerMedia, Disney needs to have a continuous stream of new releases to keep people subscribed for $7 a month and bring in new subscribers. Also like WarnerMedia, most of the movies that Disney is moving to Disney Plus, bypassing a theatrical release, were box office gambles to begin with.
Before Disney Plus, Disney had no choice but to bring them to theaters or release them as straight-to-video titles, which wasn’t a great option. Now, those movies can be used to bolster Disney Plus and give subscribers something new to watch. CEO Bob Chapek said Disney saw enough of a performance to justify continuing the release strategy and plans to release more films in the future.