While the majority of Disney’s planned 2020 releases are holding out for theatrical distribution, the Mouse House has proven they’re willing to shift some of those films to Disney+ if need be. Most notably, the Kenneth Branagh directed “Artemis Fowl“ was initially set to hit theaters May 29, 2020, before COVID-19 laid waste to the 2020 theatrical experience. In April, Disney opted to drop the adaptation onto Disney+ on June 12, 2020. This decision resulted in speculation as to which of Disney’s other titles would receive a similar treatment next. Now, we have our answer.
In an official statement, Walt Disney Studios announced that “The One and Only Ivan,” an adaptation of the bestselling, award-winning book about one extraordinary gorilla directed will head directly to Disney+ on Aug. 21, 2020. The film was previously dated for an Aug. 14, 2020, theatrical release but instead will bypass the theaters altogether.
Based on Katherine Applegate’s book of the same name, “The One and Only Ivan” is directed by Thea Sharrock from a screenplay by Mike White and is said to be a hybrid of CGI and live-action. The film features the vocal talents of Sam Rockwell, Angelina Jolie, Danny DeVito, Helen Mirren, and stars Ramon Rodriguez, Ariana Greenblatt, and Bryan Cranston.
“The world has changed in a heartbeat,” said Sharrock. “People all over the globe have shared important, life-changing experiences in ways we have not seen for a century. In response to this, I am so happy that we can share Katherine Applegate’s delightful and original story, ‘The One and Only Ivan’ with the world this August on Disney+, bringing some joy through this unique movie of true friendship, inspired by a true story.”
With “The One and Only Ivan” vacating its mid-August release date, Searchlight Pictures will instead release Armando Iannucci’s “The Personal History of David Copperfield“ in its place in select theaters. The Dev Patel led reimagining of Charles Dickens’ classic tale debuted at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and was initially set to hit cinemas on May 8, 2020, before Searchlight removed it from its release calendar.
In addition to these announcements, Disney also moved Peter Jackson’s documentary “The Beatles: Get Back” from Sept. 4, 2020, to Aug. 27, 2021, along with Regency Enterprise’s “Everybody’s Talking About Jaimie” from Oct. 23, 2020, to Jan. 22 2021.