‘Frozen 2’ to be released early as rest of Disney production studio shutters

Frozen 2” fans are in for quite a treat because the Walt Disney Company revealed the hit animated film will be released on the streaming service this Sunday to keep families entertained amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Walt Disney Company announced the surprising news on Friday, letting viewers know the decision was made in an effort to bring families in hibernation mode “some fun and joy during this challenging period.”

“Frozen 2 has captivated audiences around the world through its powerful themes of perseverance and the importance of family, messages that are incredibly relevant during this time, and we are pleased to be able to share this heartwarming story early with our Disney+ subscribers to enjoy at home on any device,” Disney’s Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek said in a statement.

This image released by Disney shows Elsa, voiced by Idina Menzel, from left, Anna, voiced by Kristen Bell, Kristoff, voiced by Jonathan Groff and Sven in a scene from the animated film,'Frozen 2.'

This image released by Disney shows Elsa, voiced by Idina Menzel, from left, Anna, voiced by Kristen Bell, Kristoff, voiced by Jonathan Groff and Sven in a scene from the animated film, ‘Frozen 2.’
(AP)

“Frozen 2” will first be available for streaming on Disney+ for subscribers in the United States. The movie will hit the streaming platform internationally — in Canada, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand — on Wednesday.

The announcement comes on the heels of the announcement that Disney has suspended all production for its live-action films.

“While there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our productions, after considering the current environment and the best interests of our cast and crew, we have made the decision to pause production on some of our live-action films for a short time,” a Disney spokesperson said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “We will continue to assess the situation and restart as soon as feasible.”

In'Frozen 2' Elsa goes searching for answers about her powers.
In ‘Frozen 2’ Elsa goes searching for answers about her powers. (AP)

The shutdown now places on hold the live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid,” which was scheduled to begin shooting in London next week.

The movies that were already in production and have since halted include “Home Alone,” “The Last Duel” and “Nightmare Alley.”

“Peter Pan & Wendy” and “Shrunk,” a sequel to the 1980s classic “Honey I Shrunk the Kids,” were in pre-production and have since been delayed.

The decision comes just one day after the U.S.’s release of “Mulan” was pushed back, following in China’s footsteps. “New Mutants” and “Antlers” were also postponed.

Liu Yifei as Mulan in the trailer for the upcoming Disney movie. 
Liu Yifei as Mulan in the trailer for the upcoming Disney movie. (Disney)

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover within a few weeks.

As of Saturday morning, 50 people had died in the U.S., while more than 1,300 people had tested positive for the new coronavirus. Tolls have been higher elsewhere. In Italy, where more than 12,000 people tested positive and 800 people have died, all stores except pharmacies and food markets were ordered closed.

Although North American theaters have yet to report any discernible decline in earnings, the global theatrical market has been directly impacted by the virus. Cinemas have been closed in China for several weeks and Italy also recently shuttered its theaters. In many countries, health experts are advocating social distancing to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Fox News’ Jessica Napoli and The Associated Press contributed to this report.