Eternals arrives on Disney Plus, will finally stream ‘free’ late tonight


Angelina Jolie as Thena and Lauren Ridloff as Makkari stand on a wind-swept beach

Eternals was first released exclusively in theaters on Nov. 5.


Marvel Studios

Marvel’s Eternals streaming release date on Disney Plus has finally come, with the film available to stream late tonight at no added cost to subscribers. But just as post-pandemic life has remained frustratingly out of reach, it’s just as hard to get a grip on where and when Disney releases all its movies now.

Disney Plus was up and running only about four months when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. In the nearly two years since, Disney reenvisioned the service as an outlet to release big, new movies while cinemas were shut down or limping along. But after all of its films premiered in theaters exclusively since August, Disney said Friday that Pixar’s next feature film, Turning Red, will skip theaters to stream exclusively on Disney Plus starting March 11. In countries where Disney Plus isn’t operating (like China, the biggest theatrical movie market in the world), the film is planned for release in cinemas… sometime. Those dates have yet to be announced.  

And even for movies like EncantoMarvel’s Eternals and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the time you had to wait before they hit Disney Plus has varied. That return to a theatrical-exclusive strategy helped fuel the box office performance of those movies, but it’s crimped options for fans who got used to greater choice in how, where and when they watch new movies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When is Eternals’ release date and time on Disney Plus?

Eternals is going to land on Disney Plus early Wednesday morning, available to stream at no added cost for all subscribers starting at midnight PT (3 a.m. ET). Eternals will be part of the standard streaming catalog and won’t require an extra fee to watch. Some people refer to this as the date Eternals will be streaming “free,” but everything on Disney Plus requires a paid subscription. 

Like Shang-Chi, Eternals is arriving on Disney Plus much later in its release cycle than other Disney films over the last year. The Wednesday streaming release date for Eternals is about 68 days after its wide release in theaters.

While this streaming release timeline is quicker than the norm pre-pandemic, when it would typically would have taken five to eight months for a theatrical movie to reach Disney Plus, Eternals still had a theatrical exclusive period nearly as long as some lasted before the pandemic shook everything up. Eternals was exclusively in theaters for about 68 days; the pre-pandemic norm for theatrical exclusives was about 75 to 90 days. 

The difference now: Disney is essentially skipping Disney Plus ahead so it’s first in line after theaters. Previously, formats like online rentals, Blu-ray and DVD would be the first home-viewing options after a film’s theatrical run, and the Disney Plus release date would follow months later. Starting early Wednesday, Eternals will arrive on Disney Plus at no added cost the same day the movie becomes available to rent online on all the major digital platforms like Amazon Video and Apple’s TV app. 

What is the release date for Pixar’s Turning Red? 

Pixar’s Turning Red will be available to stream on Disney Plus at no added cost for all subscribers on March 11. 

In all countries where Disney Plus is operating, Turning Red is essentially skipping theaters. In all countries where Disney Plus hasn’t launched, the company will release the film in cinemas, but it hasn’t announced when yet. 

Pixar’s last two movies — Soul in late 2020 and Luca in the middle of 2021 — were released this way, too. 

But Disney hasn’t released a movie straight to Disney Plus since Jungle Cruise in July, and even then, Jungle Cruise was available to stream only by paying an extra $30 fee through its Premier Access model. 

Can I stream Encanto ‘free’ on Disney Plus? 

Yes, Encanto became available to stream on Disney Plus on Dec. 24, at no added cost to all subscribers. That was just one month after its theatrical release. As part of the standard streaming catalog, it doesn’t require an extra fee to watch. Some people refer to Encanto as “free” to stream, but everything on Disney Plus requires a paid subscription. 

That’s a longer wait than for some other Disney movies that were released earlier in…



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