Raya and the Last Dragon is coming to Disney+ through Premier Access, but the streamer already announced when the movie will become available to all users. Following in Mulan’s footsteps, the new animated film marks the second major title streaming simultaneously on Disney’s streamer the same day it hits theaters. However, to access Raya and the Last Dragon, subscribers will need to pay an additional $29.99 fee. Thankfully, those who don’t want to pay extra costs will get to stream the new movie sooner than expected.
Originally set to release in theaters by the end of 2020, Raya and the Last Dragon was pushed back due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the movie is still coming to theaters, Disney decided to use the Premier Access method to make the title accessible for those not comfortable traveling to theaters just yet. The groundbreaking movie introduces the world of Kumandra, where humans and dragons once lived together in peace. When monsters threatened humanity, dragons sacrificed themselves to save the world. After the monsters return, it’s up to Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) to locate the last dragon, Sisu (Awkwafina), in the hopes of restoring the world into its natural form.
Raya and the Last Dragon becomes available through Disney+ on March 5, 2021, with the $29.99 extra cost. The deal will be accessible until May 4, giving those who purchase the title through Premier Access unlimited streaming capability as long as they’re active subscribers. Once bought, Raya and the Last Dragon can be found on the official Disney+ website or the service’s app on partnered platforms. For anyone not keen on paying the Premier Access fee, Raya and the Last Dragon will be available to all Disney+ users on June 4, 2021, at no additional cost.
Raya and the Last Dragon’s release strategy is quite similar to the method used for the live-action Mulan, especially in terms of a timeline. Mulan was available to purchase on Disney+ for two months after its September 4 premiere before it was made free for all subscribers in early December. Disney is using that same timetable for Raya and the Last Dragon with two months of availability through Premier Access before making it free to stream at the three-month mark.
Unlike Mulan, which had to forgo a theatrical release of any kind, Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada’s animated film is getting a Premier Access release alongside a run in theaters. It will be interesting to see how this altered model affects box office earnings. If the studio finds success with the simultaneous streaming and theater releases with Raya and the Last Dragon, the chances are for more of Disney’s upcoming films to follow the same strategy. Until a greater percentage of the population feels safe returning to movie theaters, streaming services could remain the preferred option. Studios like Disney will need to keep adapting if they want the movie industry to survive these unprecedented times.