Unlike most assumptions, the highly-anticipated live-action film, “Cruella,” is not skipping theaters and not going straight to Disney+ for subscribers. The film still has a release date of May, 2021. While Disney has been vague about the language, there’s nothing that says, “in theaters” or on Dinsey+, just the date, they’re clearly doing this on purpose to seemingly hedge bets.
And to help announce the news, Disney released a trailer for the film showing Emma Stone as the dastardly villain that has a thing for a certain type of spotted dog. The film is a prequel to the classic 1961 animated film “101 Dalmations” and follows the story of a young Cruella de Vil, an aspiring fashion designer that becomes obsessed with using dog skins in her clothing. Yes, that’s a truly terrifying thought.
“Cruella” is directed by Craig Gillespie, who is probably best known for his work on the Oscar-nominated feature, “I, Tonya.” He’s also the filmmaker behind “Million Dollar Arm,” “Lars and the Real Girl,” and “The Finest Hours.” Stone is joined by Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, and Mark Strong in the cast for the feature.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Academy Award® winner Emma Stone (“La La Land”) stars in Disney’s “Cruella,” an all-new live-action feature film about the rebellious early days of one of cinemas most notorious – and notoriously fashionable – villains, the legendary Cruella de Vil. “Cruella,” which is set in 1970s London amidst the punk rock revolution, follows a young grifter named Estella, a clever and creative girl determined to make a name for herself with her designs. She befriends a pair of young thieves who appreciate her appetite for mischief, and together they are able to build a life for themselves on the London streets. One day, Estella’s flair for fashion catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman, a fashion legend who is devastatingly chic and terrifyingly haute, played by two-time Oscar® winner Emma Thompson (“Howards End,” “Sense & Sensibility”). But their relationship sets in motion a course of events and revelations that will cause Estella to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous, fashionable and revenge-bent Cruella.
So, while COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc in the U.S. and theaters are still mostly shut down, it appears that Disney will use “Cruella” as the latest attempt to land new subscribers for its Disney+ streaming service, but again, they have not been overt about this at all and right now, it seems like a bit of a guessing game.
The film is set to be released on May 28, 2021. Will that be in theaters, on Disney+ or both? Time will tell. You can watch the trailer below.