SINGAPORE - For a while, the pandemic made streaming equal in status to cinemas when it came to new releases.
In Singapore, Disney's slate for this year (2021) - such as the animation Raya And The Last Dragon, the comedy Cruella, the Marvel superhero movie Black Widow and fantasy adventure Jungle Cruise - was launched in cinemas and on its additional-fee Premier Access plan on the Disney+ platform.
But the Marvel movie Eternals will open only in cinemas on Nov 4. It follows the cinema-only release of Marvel film Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings last month (September).
According to industry news reports, Disney has frozen its hybrid release scheme for the rest of the year and probably into 2022. Because with cinemas around the world reopening, the studio has found that compared with selling tickets, it is uneconomical to sell films for $39.
Here are nine films, from Disney and other studios, that might lure patrons back.
The Addams Family 2
Opening Nov 11
This sequel to the 2019 hit animated comedy - based on the cartoons of Charles Addams - sees Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron and Chloe Grace Moretz return as the voices of Gomez, Morticia and Wednesday Addams respectively.
Wednesday's science fair attempt at creating human-creature hybrids catches the attention of unhinged scientist Cyrus Strange (Bill Hader). At the same time, Gomez decides to take the family on a bonding road trip.
Opening Nov 18
Any work by Japanese anime creator Mamoru Hosoda, the film-maker behind the popular and acclaimed fantasies The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2005), Summer Wars (2009) and Wolf Children (2012), should garner attention.
The science fantasy tells the story of Suzu, a Japanese teenager traumatised by the loss of her mother. Through her classmate Hiro, she is introduced to a virtual world known as "U".
Opening Nov 18
Go into this one knowing that while this might be the fourth film in the franchise, the studio would rather you forget the flop that was the third movie, Ghostbusters (2016).
Neither a reboot nor a remake, this movie embraces history and reintroduces actors from the original two films (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and Sigourney Weaver), released in 1984 and 1989. Set decades after the events of the 1989 movie, it follows a family who moves to a rural town, where the members discover their grandfather's spooky secrets.
Opening Nov 25
This work from Walt Disney Animation Studios features the songs of celebrated songwriter and performer Lin-Manuel Miranda (the stage musical In The Heights, with a film version directed by Jon M. Chu released this year). In a version of Colombia where magic is real, a girl must stop a force from robbing her family of its magical powers.
Last Night In Soho
Opening Nov 25
In this psychological thriller directed and co-written by Edgar Wright (zombie comedy Shaun Of The Dead, 2004; crime thriller Baby Driver, 2017), Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) is a young woman from a small town who moves to London to study fashion. At night, she is seized by vivid dreams in which she is a beautiful woman during the Swinging Sixties. Her dream alter ego, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, is wooed by the dashing and dangerous Jack (Matt Smith).
The French Dispatch
Opening Dec 9
This is film-maker Wes Anderson doing what his fans love for him to do: creating bittersweet ensemble comedies expressing his love of the mid-20th century aesthetic.
At the French bureau of an American newspaper, an editor's death triggers a clause in a will that requires the journal to republish three older stories. Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Lea Seydoux, Adrien Brody, Frances McDormand, Timothee Chalamet and others play the journalists, or the characters found in the past articles.
Spider-Man: No Way Home
Opening Dec 16
Set after the events of Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), the last Marvel movie of the year finds Tom Holland's Peter Parker turning to Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) for help in remaining incognito after his identity is revealed at the end of the 2019 film.
Fans are excited about the return of the villain Doctor Octopus, played once more by Alfred Molina, the actor behind the multi-limbed baddie in Spider-Man 2 (2004), when Tobey Maguire had the role of the web slinger.
Opening Dec 22
Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss reprise their roles from the groundbreaking original trilogy (1999 to 2003). Not much is known about the story except that it picks up from the events of The Matrix Revolutions (2003). It appears that everyone is back in the simulated world of the Matrix, even Neo. He is shown in his pre-awakened state as Thomas Anderson. He also appears to have no knowledge of having met Trinity (Moss).
The King's Man
Opening Dec 30
After a delay of two years because of the pandemic, this prequel to Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) will finally be released.
Explaining the origin of the Kingsman agency of dapper do-gooders armed with exotic weapons, the film is set in the early 1900s, blending real historical characters such as King George V and Grigori Rasputin with fictional ones. It stars Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton and Djimon Hounsou as the pioneers of the team.