Based on the tenor of the investor call, it certainly sounds as if all three of these movies are slated to premiere in theaters, although Iger affirmed during the call that they will continue to produce content for their Disney+ streaming service. This makes sense due to all three of these properties having strong fanbases and even stronger box office returns.
The emphasis on theatrical releases for these films can’t be ignored. While Disney did have a steady string of successes at the box office, it also had some noticeable disappointments and strange relegations recently. Many fans bemoaned the decision to release franchise entries “Prey” and “Hellraiser” exclusively on Hulu and other Disney-owned streaming services worldwide. Furthermore, Disney had a major box office disappointment in the animated film “Strange World,” which only grossed $73 million on a budget that ranged between $135 and $180 million.
These issues and many more may have been why then-CEO Bob Chapek was ousted from the company back in November 2022, days before the release of “Strange World,” and replaced with Iger. If these announcements are anything to go by, Iger is committed to more effectively balancing theatrical and streaming releases, and figuring out which projects are better suited for which distribution medium. Sequels to “Toy Story,” “Zootopia,” and “Frozen” certainly fall into that former category.