Desperate times call for desperate measures. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Disney has decided to skip a theatrical rollout for its big screen adaptation of Artemis Fowl. Instead, the Kenneth Branagh-directed film will make its world debut on Disney+ at a date that has yet to be announced.
The project was originally slated to hit theaters Friday, May 29. Disney is still touting it as a summer release for Disney+, so it seems that date won't be too far delayed for the streaming debut.
“With audiences largely unable to attend theaters in the current environment, we are thrilled to offer the premiere of Artemis Fowl on Disney+,” Ricky Strauss, President, Content & Marketing, Disney+, said in a statement. “Director Kenneth Branagh and his spectacular cast take viewers right into the vibrant, fantasy world of the beloved book, which fans have been waiting to see brought to life onscreen for years. It’s great family entertainment that is the perfect addition to Disney+’s summer lineup."
Based on the hit YA novels by Eoin Colfer, the movie centers on Artemis Fowl II (Ferdia Shaw), a bright 12-year-old boy who discovers that his recently-kidnapped father (Colin Farrell) is the latest in a long line of criminal masterminds. Accepting his destiny, Artemis sets out to find his missing dad with some help from his fiercely loyal butler, Butler (Nonso Anozie). On his journey, our hero uncovers a sprawling fantasy world of elves, fairies, and dwarves that has been long hidden from humanity.
Lara McDonnell, Josh Gad, Tamara Smart, Josh McGuire, Nikesh Patel, Adrian Scarborough, and Judi Dench make up the rest of the ensemble cast.
In particular, McDonnell and Gad play two more of Fowl's crucial allies: Captain Holly Short (an elven agent for an orginization known as "LEPrecon"); and Mulch Diggums, an over-sized dwarf with a penchant for thievery. Dench portrays Holly's superior officer, Commander Root.
Conor McPherson and Hamish McColl penned the screenplay.
The streaming shift for Artemis Fowl comes just as Disney is shuffling most of its other big screen fare, with much of the MCU shifting a release slot down the calendar to clear some space to hopefully get beyond the pandemic shutdowns.