To be crystal clear: Yes, we are still encouraging you to enjoy your movies in the safety of your own home. Still, we know that there are some who plan on heading to the theaters this weekend. If you happen to be heading to a Cinemark-affiliated theater, there is on film that you won’t see: Disney’s Raya And The Last Dragon, which is set to be released worldwide and on Disney Plus Friday, March 5.
“In the current operating environment, we are making near-term booking decisions on a discrete, film-by-film basis, focusing on the long-term benefit of exhibitors, studios and moviegoers. While we are having conversations with The Walt Disney Company, we have not yet reached agreeable licensing terms for Raya and the Last Dragon. As we continue to work with our studio partners, we remain optimistic that we will reach mutually beneficial terms that will provide moviegoers the opportunity to see the exciting film lineup in our theaters.”
Like other theaters, Cinemark has struggled to regain its footing during the pandemic. Hybrid film release plans by the likes of WarnerMedia and Paramount have only further complicated things with shortened theater windows and changing licensing terms—some of which may fall out of a theater company’s diminished budget. If a studio refuses to budge on its terms, it could lead to more decisions like this—a consequence that means little to a gigantic corporation like Disney, but could have a greater material impact on a theater chain’s ability to thrive. Disney has not commented on Cinemark’s decision. But as Deadline notes, there’s still a possibility for the two parties to reach some sort of common ground in the 11th hour.
Raya And The Last Dragon stars Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Daniel Dae Kim, Gemma Chan, and Sandra Oh. Here’s what Danette Chavez had to say in her recent review of the film:
Though it was in production years before the pandemic changed everyone’s way of life, Raya And The Last Dragon truly feels like the first Disney blockbuster of the COVID era. Accidentally or not, this lavish animated production resonates with the collective grief of the world it’s being released into, inviting everyone to sit with that pain, even as it hints at brighter days to come. Helmed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, together with co-directors Paul Briggs and John Ripa, the film is still very much a Disney princess story (with nods to a Disney acquisition). But with its muted palette and infusion of Southeast Asian cultures, Raya also brings some innovation to that framework, while raising some of the questions we’ve all posed to ourselves as infection rates and death tolls rose: How did we get here? And how do we find our way out?