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‘The One and Only Ivan’ to Bypass Theaters, Will Premiere on Disney Plus Aug. 21

Torrey Hart

Walt Disney Studios’ live-action and CGI adventure film “The One and Only Ivan,” based on Katherine Applegate’s 2012 children’s novel of the same name, will bypass theaters and premiere exclusively on Disney+, the company announced today.

The feature was originally slated for an Aug. 14 theatrical release and will instead become available online on Aug. 21.

Directed by Thea Sharrock, the plot is “an unforgettable tale about the beauty of friendship, the power of visualization and the significance of the place one calls home,” according to the Disney+

It centers around Ivan, a 400-pound silverback gorilla who “shares a communal habitat in a suburban shopping mall with Stella the elephant and Bob the dog.” He remembers little about his home before he was captured, but when a baby elephant named Ruby arrives, it deeply affects him.

“The world has changed in a heartbeat. People all over the globe have shared important, life changing experiences in ways we have not seen for a century,” Sharrock said. “In response to this, I am so happy that we can share Katherine Applegate’s delightful and original story, ‘The One and Only Ivan,’ with the world this August on Disney+, bringing some joy through this unique movie of true friendship, inspired by a true story.”

A star-studded cast of actors voices the story’s animal characters. It includes Sam Rockwell as Ivan; Angelina Jolie as Stella the elephant; Danny DeVito as Bob the dog; Helen Mirren as Snickers the poodle; and Chaka Khan as Henrietta the chicken, among others.

The film is the latest in a handful that have gone straight to video-on-demand in response to brick-and mortar theater closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, Disney+ released “Artemis Fowl,” and made “Onward,” a Pixar animated film, available for digital purchase in April, months ahead of schedule. Judd Apatow’s “The King of Staten Island” also hit PVOD rental services Friday, while other titles have been sold to streaming video-on-demand platforms – including Paramount’s “Lovebirds” to Netflix, Universal/Blumhouse’s “Run Sweetheart Run” to Amazon Prime Video and Sony’s “Greyhound” to Apple TV+.

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