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Marvel Studios' Next Disney+ Project Releasing In Theaters Early

Groot picture
By Benny Stein

The upcoming I Am Groot animated series is set to be an extremely unique project within the MCU. Although very little has been revealed about the show, with not so much as a teaser having seen the light of day (even with only a month to go before its release), the things that have been announced certainly set it apart.

The show, which sees the titular twig getting into all sorts of trouble, marks a new chapter in the MCU, serving as the first mainstream project to exist wholly outside of the franchise canon. Also unique to the series is its structure, with the animated project being presented as a collection of shorts rather than a singular coherent narrative.

Besides these bits of information, fans have also gotten a look at the show through other means. A single poster released alongside the show's release date reveal shows off I Am Groot's tone and art style, while a set of toys releasing alongside the series hints at a wide range of looks and actions for the little sapling's adventures.

While so little being known about the upcoming I Am Groot is already fairly strange, things are about to get even weirder.

I Am Groot Debuts in Theaters Alongside Thor 4

One short episode of the upcoming I Am Groot series will be debuting early, hitting screens exclusively at the El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, confirms the venue's social media account. The short, titled "Magnum Opus," will play before certain showings of Thor: Love and Thunder, though only between July 18-24.

Included in the announcement is a new poster for the series, presumably showing off the kind of hijinks the character will get up to in the short.

I Am Groot Poster
Marvel

Why Is I Am Groot Hitting Theater Screens?

This announcement by The El Capitan Theater is certainly a surprise, both because of the novelty of this sort of distribution deal and the extreme narrowness of its debut. Sure, "Magnum Opus" is making it out to fans early, but in an extremely restricted form. Not only is the short limited to one theater during a relatively short window, but the episode is also only playing before one specific showing each day, "the 4:15pm showings on July 18 & 19, and the 1pm showings July 20-24."

Marvel has pulled similar tricks before, like when it announced that the trailer for the long-awaited Avatar sequel would be premiering exclusively in front of screenings of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. However, this ploy hit theaters everywhere, allowing Disney to promote the upcoming Avatar: The Way of Water while also incentivizing a wider range of fans to come out for the surreal Doctor Strange sequel.

The goal here is likely similar, if potentially less effective. While the deal struck with The El Capitan Theater will keep this move from making a significant impact on Thor: Love and Thunder's box office prospects, it certainly can't hurt, also helping to bring attention to I Am Groot, a project with a great deal less fervor surrounding it.

It is also certainly possible that Marvel feels the I Am Groot series is more impressive than it may seem and hopes that by getting some initial impressions out, a more appropriate level of excitement can develop. However, with no footage released so far for the animated collection of shorts, jumping straight to a limited release of a single episode seems like an odd marketing tactic.

Although the move is certainly a curious one, it at the very least means that fans in the Los Angeles area will have a chance to check out a new piece of MCU content much sooner than expected. For everyone else, I Am Groot drops on Disney+ on August 10.


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