The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Streams Same Day Morbius Opens in Theaters

A superhero showdown is taking shape for 2021: Marvel Studios original series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier starts streaming on March 19, the same day that Sony's Spider-Man spinoff Morbius is scheduled to open in theaters. Marvel confirmed Falcon/Soldier's release date on Disney+ with a new poster and new first look released during Disney Investor Day 2020, where Marvel chief Kevin Feige showed off reels from the studio's first batch of "cinematic-quality" television series. This past March, the Jared Leto-starring Morbius moved to March 2021 after Sony pulled it from a planned July 2020 release amid the global pandemic.

Sony has not stated whether it intends to keep Morbius in March 2021 — not because of any competition with the anticipated Marvel series, but because there's a belief moviegoing won't fully resume until later in the year. After WarnerMedia this month announced Warner Bros.' entire 17-movie slate would go to HBO Max day-and-date throughout next year, AT&T CEO John Stankey cited data that showed a "large number" of moviegoers wouldn't feel comfortable returning to theaters until late 2021.

Sony's own Ghostbusters: Afterlife was kicked down the road from this summer to March 2021, and again to its current slot in June 2021. As it stands now, March is sparse: Eddie Murphy's Coming 2 America will stream on Amazon Prime Video after abandoning its planned theatrical release, and Disney's animated Raya and the Last Dragon will release simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ via Premier Access.

Tom & Jerry and The Many Saints of Newark — two of the 17 Warner Bros. titles doing day-and-date on HBO Max — release that same month, as will Nicolas Cage's The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent and Universal's animated The Boss Baby: Family Business.

For its part, Disney declared a commitment to theaters when it confirmed plans to keep Marvel's Black Widow and Dwayne Johnson's Jungle Cruise on course for theatrical release in May and July 2021, respectively. Only select titles, such as Raya, will release on Disney+ the same day they open in theaters; others, like Pixar's Soul this Christmas, will bypass theaters altogether and go straight to streaming.

Disney and Sony have a unique relationship through Tom Holland's Spider-Man, with Feige and Disney's Marvel serving as creative producers on Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home. On the untitled Spider-Man 3, Disney will for the first time supply 25% of the budget and receive a quarter of the film's profits from its scheduled theatrical release in December 2021.

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Morbius, along with Tom Hardy's Venom, is set in the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters, and not the Marvel Cinematic Universe where The Falcon and the Winter Soldier takes place. The first trailer for Morbius appeared to hint at a connection between the two universes — suggesting a closer relationship between Disney and Sony — when Michael Keaton appeared as Adrian Toomes, the character he played in Marvel and Sony's Homecoming.

Sony's Morbius is currently scheduled for theatrical release on March 19, 2021. Marvel's The Falcon and the Winter Soldier streams exclusively on Disney+ that same day.