The Artemis Fowl movie has been nearly 20 years in the making, but now it is finally being released — albeit in a different way than originally intended.
With no theatrical release, the film will premiere on Disney+, available starting Friday, June 12, at 3 a.m. ET/midnight PT.
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‘Artemis Fowl’ Preview
Directed by Kenneth Branagh, who has a Best Directing Oscar nomination to his name, Artemis Fowl tells the story of a young criminal mastermind who lives in a fantasy world that includes fairies, dwarves, elves, goblins and more. It is based on an eight-book series by Eoin Colfer; the film will encompass the first two books in the series, “Artemis Fowl” and “Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident.”
The official synopsis of the film reads, “Artemis Fowl is a 12-year-old genius and descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds. He soon finds himself in an epic battle against a race of powerful underground fairies who may be behind his father’s disappearance.”
The title character is played by newcomer Ferdia Shaw, a 15-year-old who makes his feature film debut in this project. But he has some fine acting skills in his blood — Shaw is the grandson of Robert Shaw, known for scene-stealing turns in A Man for All Seasons, The Sting, and Jaws before his untimely death from a sudden heart attack in 1978 at the age of 51.
Alongside Shaw, the film stars Dame Judi Dench as elf Commander Root, Josh Gad as dwarf thief Mulch Diggums, Lara McDonnell as kidnapped fairy Holly Short, and Colin Farrell as Artemis Fowl Sr.
Originally, Artemis Fowl was set to be released in August 2019, but that was pushed back to May 29, 2020. However, with movie theaters shutting down nationwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Walt Disney Pictures moved the premiere to its streaming platform, Disney Plus.
Speaking to analysts during the second-quarter earnings call (via Screen Daily), Disney CEO Bob Chapek said that Disney Plus felt like a natural home for Artemis Fowl.
“We very much believe in the value of the theatrical experience overall to launch blockbuster films,” said Chapek. “We had seven $1 billion films in calendar year 2019, but we also realize that either because of changing or evolving consumer dynamics or because of certain situations like COVID, we may have to make some changes to that overall strategy just because theatres aren’t open or aren’t open to the extent that anybody needs to be financially viable.
“So we’re going to evaluate each one of our movies on a case-by-case situation as we are doing right now during this coronavirus situation. I think you know that Artemis Fowl is moving over to Disney Plus given the demographics and appeal of that film, which was not originally the plan. But all our other tentpole movies have been rescheduled theatrically for later in the year, so we very much believe in the power of that launch platform for our big movies.”
Artemis Fowl drops Friday, June 12 at 3 a.m. ET/midnight PT on Disney Plus.
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