Disney+ has previously offered early access to movies with theatrical releases, but now it’s hoping you’ll pay in advance. The streaming service has started taking pre-orders for Premier Access to Raya and the Last Dragon ahead of its digital debut on March 5th. Pay $30 and you can watch the animated epic through your Disney+ subscription as soon as it’s available.
As with the early release of Mulan, Raya’s price isn’t out of line with what you’d pay to see the movie in theaters (where it’s also available on March 5th). It might make sense if you’d rather not risk your family’s health just to see the movie on a big screen during a pandemic, and aren’t willing to wait for the eventual no-extra-charge release.
However, it also raises questions about the value of pre-orders. After all, this isn’t a permanent copy of Raya — end your subscription and you lose the CG fantasy flick as well, even if it’s still in the early access period. There certainly aren’t limited quantities like with theater tickets. Really, you’re pre-ordering so that you won’t have to spend a few moments unlocking access on premiere day.