Have you seen the trailer for Raya and the Last Dragon? It looks pretty freakin’ cool! Are you willing to pay $30 to see the movie? Well Disney is more than willing to take your money, as the pre-order page is now open. The movie will land in theaters and on Disney+ on March 5th.
This is a repeat of Disney’s Mulan move from last summer: Raya will be available on Disney+, but not for free. That $30 purchase price is in addition to the $7 a month subscription for the streaming service itself. Once you buy the movie, you can watch it as much as you like. In contrast, Disney released Pixar’s Soul to the service at no additional charge on Christmas day.
Disney appears to be committed to at least some degree of theater exclusivity with its biggest tentpole films, if only by pricing the streaming option out of many people’s ranges for a single film. Competitor Warner Bros. is releasing all of its 2021 movies (and December’s Wonder Woman 1984) on HBO Max at no additional charge, though those movies only get a month on the service.
If you’re wondering: no, there’s really no reason to pre-order the digital version of the movie. You can still buy it on Disney+ after it goes live.
Raya and the Last Dragon is the latest addition to Disney’s animated canon, coming from many of the same team members as Tangled, Frozen, Moana, and Wreck-It Ralph. (It is not made by Pixar.) It follows the titular Raya (Kelly Marie Tran, The Last Jedi), a young girl on a quest to find a dragon and save the world from an army of monsters. The fantasy setting is heavily influenced by southeast Asian art and culture.