The Walt Disney Company outlined the company’s global streaming expansion at its 2020 Investor Day. Disney had announcements and casting info for every fan-favorite property, including Star Wars, Marvel, Disney+, Hulu, and FX. The company also offered a first look at its upcoming international general entertainment content brand, Star, along with a long list of new content and future releases
The event was led by Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company, and Bob Iger, Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board. Disney also hosted presentations from leaders of the company’s content and distribution teams, along with financial updates from Christine McCarthy, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and Lowell Singer, Senior Vice President, Investor Relations.
“The tremendous success we’ve achieved across our unique portfolio of streaming services, with more than 137 million subscriptions worldwide, has bolstered our confidence in our acceleration toward a DTC-first business model,” said Mr. Chapek. “With our amazing creative teams and our ever-growing collection of the high-quality branded entertainment that consumers want, we believe we are incredibly well positioned to achieve our long-term goals.”
As of December 2nd, Disney’s direct-to-consumer services portfolio has exceeded a total of 137M global paid subscriptions, including 11.5M ESPN+ subscribers, 38.8M Hulu subscribers, and 86.8M Disney+ subscribers since its launch in November 2019. The company now expects its streaming services to hit 300-350M total subscriptions by fiscal 2024, driven primarily by a significant increase in content output. Disney+ alone is targeting to release more than 100 titles per year.
The company also stated that beginning March 26, 2021, Disney+ will be priced in the U.S. at $7.99.month or $79.99/annually, while the Disney Bundle with Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ will be priced at $13.99/month. A new agreement with Comcast was also announced that it will bring Disney+ and ESPN+ experiences to Comcast X1 set-top boxes and Flex platforms in the first quarter of 2021, joining Hulu, which became available on these platforms in Spring 2020. Additionally, Hulu customers will also be able to subscribe to ESPN+ within the Hulu user interface and access the ESPN+ lineup of sports programming there beginning in early 2021.
The international general entertainment content brand, Star, will be included as part of Disney+ in select global markets and launch as a separate streaming service in Latin America as Star+. The Star brand will serve as home to thousands of hours of television and movies from Disney’s creative studios, including Disney Television Studios, FX, 20th Century Studios, 20th Television, and more, enhanced by the addition of local programming from the regions where available.
According to the company, Disney+ plans to release approximately 10 Star Wars series and 10 Marvel series, and 15 Disney live-action, Disney Animation, and Pixar series. The company also plans to release 15 Disney live-action, Disney Animation, and Pixar features. This is on top of the company’s premium content set to premiere in theatres or on linear channels before coming to the streaming service.
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Raya and the Last Dragon’’ will be available on Disney+ with Premier Access in most Disney+ markets at the same time as it is released in theaters, on March 5, 2021. The Premier Access for the title will be priced at $29.99. Internationally, many upcoming original titles from Disney Television Studios, FX and 20th Century Studios will also premiere on Disney+ as Star Originals.
“This incredible slate of new original content reflects our continuing commitment to harness the resources and immense creativity across our company to bring audiences extraordinary entertainment experiences unlike anything else in the market,” Mr. Iger said. “We’re proud that the unparalleled quality of our storytelling from our iconic brands remains evident across all distribution platforms, from movie theaters to our direct-to-consumer services.”
Disney also detailed several family entertainment series that are in development for Disney+, including two projects inspired by Disney properties: “Beauty and the Beast (working title),” starring Luke Evans and Josh Gad with new music composed by Alan Menken; and “Swiss Family Robinson,” which is a reimagining of the classic from Ron Moore and Jon M. Chu. The studio is also developing “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” based on the bestselling book series by Rick Riordan from Disney Publishing Worldwide.
Disney Television Studios is currently in production on four live-action series set to debut on Disney+ in 2021: “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers,” “Big Shot,” “The Mysterious Benedict Society,” and “Turner & Hooch.” The studio is also revisiting “Willow” in a new series, with Warwick Davis returning in the title role.
For Disney+ also announced a lineup of original movies and officially confirmed it would produce “Hocus Pocus 2,” reboots of “Three Men and a Baby” with Zac Efron and “Cheaper by the Dozen” with Kenya Barris and Gabrielle Union, and a new “Sister Act” film starring Whoopi Goldberg, who is on board as a producer with Tyler Perry.
Additional Disney+ projects revealed include “Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers,” a hybrid live action-animated film starring John Mulaney and Andy Samberg; “Pinocchio,” directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks; “Peter Pan & Wendy,” starring Jude Law as Captain Hook and Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell; and “Disenchanted,” with Amy Adams returning as Giselle.
The Kardashian Jenners will create new global content under a multi-year deal, to stream exclusively on Hulu in the U.S. and internationally on Star, with an expected debut in late 2021. Also premiering on Hulu and Star next year are the premium series “Only Murders in the Building,” “The Dropout,” and “Dopesick.”
In 2021, the slate of FX originals, which includes “The Old Man,” “American Horror Stories,” “Platform,” “Reservation Dogs,” and “Y: The Last Man,” will be available on Hulu in the U.S. and Star in multiple international markets. Hulu’s hit drama series, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” has been renewed for a fifth season ahead of its season four premiere and “Nine Perfect Strangers,” starring and executive produced by Nicole Kidman along with David E. Kelley will debut next year.
In addition to Hulu in the U.S., FX ordered four additional seasons of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” The group announced it is developing the first series adaptation of the science-fiction horror classic “Alien” and is in advanced talks for a two-season order of “The Stones,” a drama series about the The Rolling Stones. FX will work on a retelling of James Clavell’s beloved epic saga, “Shōgun,” set within feudal Japan.
Lucasfilm announced several Disney+ series and new feature films destined to expand the Star Wars galaxy. Among the projects for Disney+ are “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” starring Ewan McGregor with Hayden Christensen returning as Darth Vader, and two series set in the Mandalorian era from Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni: “Rangers of the New Republic” and “Ahsoka,” a series featuring the favorite character Ahsoka Tano.
Additional new titles announced for Disney+ include “Andor,” “Star Wars: The Bad Batch,” “Star Wars: Visions,” “Lando,” “The Acolyte,” and “A Droid Story.” The next feature film in the Star Wars franchise, releasing in December 2023, will be “Rogue Squadron,” which will be directed by Patty Jenkins of the “Wonder Woman” franchise. Disney is also working on a Star Wars films with writer and director Taika Waititi.
The next installment of the “Indiana Jones” franchise directed by James Mangold, and “Children of Blood & Bone,” based on Tomi Adeyemi’s New York Times bestselling novel, round out the feature-film slate.
The studio previewed its slate of feature films, including “Jungle Cruise”; “Cruella”; a prequel to “The Lion King”; and “The Little Mermaid.” New live-action biographical films set for the service include “Greek Freak,” about NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo, and projects about Keanon Lowe and Chris Paul. The group is also developing new animated takes on favorite 20th Century Studios’ titles “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”; “The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild,” starring Simon Pegg; and “Night at the Museum.”
WALT DISNEY ANIMATION
Walt Disney Animation Studios made several announcements today, highlighting the upcoming feature film “Encanto,” which includes new songs by Emmy, GRAMMY, and Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda and is slated for theaters in November 2021.
Marking the first animated series produced by WDAS, the studio also revealed several new series for Disney+ including “Baymax,” “Zootopia+,” “Tiana” and “Moana, The Series,” as well as “Iwájú,” which will be produced in collaboration with the Pan-African comic book entertainment company Kugali.
Pixar Animation Studios revealed its upcoming slate of original series for Disney+ and feature films. Among the titles are Pixar’s first-ever long-form animated series “Win or Lose,” which debuts exclusively on Disney+ in Fall 2023, and two brand-new feature films slated for theaters in 2022, Academy Award-winning director Domee Shi’s “Turning Red” and “Lightyear,” the definitive origin story of the hero that inspired the toy. Chris Evans will voice the hero on his journey to becoming the most famous Space Ranger ever. Slated for theaters next summer is the original feature film “Luca.”
Disney also confirmed other Disney+ series, including “Inside Pixar,” “Pixar Popcorn,” “Dug Days,” and “Cars,” as well as the upcoming feature film “Soul” and short “Burrow”—both debuting on Disney+ on December 25, 2020.
One of the big draws this year is Marvel Studios, which shared plans for the expansion and future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel revealed details about upcoming content for both Disney+ and theaters. Among dozens of upcoming projects, three new series for Disney+ were revealed, including the Samuel L. Jackson-starrer “Secret Invasion,” “Ironheart” with Dominique Thorne as a genius inventor, and “Armor Wars,” starring Don Cheadle as James Rhodes aka War Machine who faces Tony Stark’s worst fears.
These will join the studios’ lineup of Disney+ titles including “WandaVision,” “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier,” and “Loki”; the animated series “What If…?”; “Ms. Marvel”; “Hawkeye,” with Hailee Steinfeld joining Jeremy Renner in the series; “She-Hulk,” starring Tatiana Maslany in the title role alongside co-stars Mark Ruffalo and Tim Roth; “Moon Knight”; “Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special”; and a series of original shorts, “I Am Groot,” featuring the baby tree.
Other feature films revealed at the event were “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” the third feature in the “Ant-Man” franchise, and “Fantastic Four,” which introduces Marvel’s most iconic family. Marvel Studios’ upcoming feature films also include “Black Widow,” “Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings,” “Eternals,” “Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness,” “Thor: Love and Thunder,” “Black Panther 2,” “Blade,” “Captain Marvel 2,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.”
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