'Clouds' Moves From A Warner Bros. Theatrical Release To Streaming On Disney+

In a surprising move, Clouds, a film that was originally supposed to be released theatrically by Warner Bros., will now go straight to Disney+. Moving a film from theaters to streaming isn't the surprising part – we're seeing a lot of that these days. But it's curious that Warners would sell this off to another streaming service when they have their own streaming service – HBO Max – ready to launch this month.

Disney+ just scored the rights to Clouds, a film that was originally set up at Warner Bros. There's no date yet as to when the film might stream, but it was initially supposed to open in theaters this month. Clouds focuses on the true story of Zach Sobiech, "a musically gifted 17-year old living with a rare bone cancer (osteosarcoma). The film follows Zach's journey over the course of his senior year as he navigates the complexities of love, friendship, family and leaving behind a musical legacy. The film stars Fin Argus as Zach Sobiech, Sabrina Carpenter as his best friend and bandmate Sammy, Madison Iseman as Zach's girlfriend Amy, Thomas Everett Scott and Neve Campbell as his parents, Laura and Rob."

The film is an adaptation of the book Fly a Little Higher: How God Answered a Mom's Small Prayer in a Big Way by Laura Sobiech. Here's the book's synopsis:

Okay, Lord, you can have him. But if he must die, I want it to be for something big. I want someone's life to be changed forever.

This is what Laura Sobeich prayed when she found out her seventeen-year-old son had only one year to live. With this desperate prayer, she released her son to God's will.

At that point, Zach Sobiech was just another teenager battling cancer. When his mother told him to think about writing good-bye letters to family and friends, he decided instead to write songs. One of them, Clouds, captured hearts and changed not one life but millions, making him an international sensation.

But Zach's story is not just about music. It's a testament to what can happen when you live as if each day might be your last. It's a story about the human spirit. It's about how God used a dying boy from a small town in Minnesota to touch the hearts of millions including top executives in the music industry, major music artists, news anchors, talk show hosts, actors, priests and pastors, and school children across the globe.

This sounds very much like a faith-based film a la God's Not Dead, which makes its purchase by Disney+ doubling surprising. But those films tend to do very well at the box office, and Disney likely wants to get in on that.

"I fell in love with Zach's infectious joy and spirit seven years ago when I made a short documentary about his life," said Clouds director Justin Baldoni. "Just before he passed, I made a promise to him that I would do whatever I could to make sure the world heard his music. In the age of COVID-19, with the future of the theatre business up in the air, it was extremely important to me to ensure Zach's message of hope, faith and triumph in the face of adversity truly had the opportunity to touch as many hearts around the world as possible. That's why I'm so excited to be partnering with Disney+ for my first film under our Wayfarer Studios banner, as it's the perfect home and platform to bring Zach's incredible story to the world."

Ricky Strauss, president, Content & Marketing, Disney+, added: "Justin has created a poignant and uplifting tribute to Zach, whose story shows us the power of optimism, music, and human connection. As our team searches the world for stories that entertain and inspire, Clouds is a fantastic fit for Disney+ and our global audience."