Disney set off a pop culture tsunami last night when the company announced it will launch “roughly” 10 Marvel series and 10 Star Wars series on its streaming service, Disney+. But there’s more to this story.
The House of Mouse announced that 15 all-new Disney live-action, Disney Animation, and Pixar features will also head directly to Disney+. And if those massive announcements weren’t enough to get fans hyped up, Disney also announced a new tier to their streaming service.
Last night, Will outlined some of the exciting new titles coming down Disney’s streaming pipeline. You can read about them here. So, what else does all this news mean for Disney+ subscribers? First off, it means lots of highly anticipated original programming.
Disney+ already features loads of excellent content, but I go weeks without logging in to the service because I’m lukewarm on most of its original series. But that’s about to change because the company is pouring billions of dollars into expanding their content library. The goal is to always have at least one shiny new release to lure viewers back to the service.
The Walt Disney Company’s Kareem Daniel, Chairman, Media and Entertainment Distribution stated, “With these Disney+ originals, along with theatrical releases and library titles, we will be adding something new to the service every week.”
What If…? first look:
So big deal, you say. Netflix has been doing this for ages, right? You can’t log in to Netflix without stumbling across 14 new series. These two services have very different approaches to creating content. What separates Disney+ from other streaming services like Netflix and Apple TV+ is the quality of its content, and Disney titles’ off-the-charts level of brand recognition.
You can make a strong case that any of today’s major streaming services offer great value. But let’s be honest here and admit that the Netflix model strives for quantity over quality. Sure, people love Stranger Things and The Crown, but the streaming giant releases a lot of forgettable content. I would list some examples, but I’ve already forgotten them. Most new streaming titles make under-the-radar debuts before vanishing into the algorithm like they’ve been sucked into the Bermuda triangle.
Disney’s aim here is to wallop subscribers with a tidal wave of premium content – stuff that really moves the needle. We’re talking about the type of blockbuster calibre franchises studios promote with billboards, Happy Meal tie-ins, and Superbowl spots. Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel make content you would happily line-up and slap down $15 to see in a theatre. No one feels that way about 97% of streaming content.
Based on what we’ve seen from The Mandalorian (and yesterday’s deluge of Marvel trailers), this upcoming slate of movies and tv shows feature big-name stars, A-list directors, and have first-class production values – tell me Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s teaser doesn’t look like it’s ripped from a $150 million MCU film. Go ahead. I dare you.
Disney will spend $14-$16 billion on developing content between its five main brands, with $8-$9 billion allocated to Disney+. And we can see where every last penny is going. The service’s upcoming streaming titles feature a level of production value rivalled only by Game of Thrones. The state of cinema may be on the decline, but there’s never been a better time for TV viewers.
The Bad Batch Sizzle Reel
Yesterday’s announcements revealed more great news for Disney’s international audience. On February 23rd, 2021, Disney will debut Star, the company’s international answer to Hulu (which is still unavailable in Canada).
Star, which will be folded into Disney+, will debut in Canada, New Zealand, and select European countries. (A standalone Streaming Service called Star+ will Launch in Latin America in June 2021, Featuring Both General Entertainment Content and Live Sports).
Here’s everything you need to know about Disney+’s new Star tier.
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.
Disney+ with Star brings subscribers:
- A Single Entertainment Destination for All Audiences: All the content, including movies, shows, shorts, and originals from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, plus an additional 1000 unique titles under the new Star brand in the first year.
- Exclusive Originals: Over the next few years, Disney+ plans to add over 60 brand new originals from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and Star, along with local productions being created for the service under the Star brand geared towards a more mature audience.
- Robust Parental Controls: To keep Disney+ suitable for audiences of all ages and the experience parents expect, new parental controls will include the ability to set limits on access to content for specific profiles based on content ratings and the ability to add a PIN to lock profiles with access to mature content. Disney+ will be updated to include the Star brand on February 23rd, 2021 in Canada. Pricing for Disney+ as of February 23, 2021:
- Canada: $11.99/month or $119.99/annual
Walt Disney Studios Content
Walt Disney Animation Studios
Yesterday’s announcement highlighted 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. The studio also revealed that “Raya and the Last Dragon” will debut simultaneously on Disney+ Premier Access and in theatres in March 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
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.”
Additional details were shared about new 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.
Marvel Studios shared plans for the expansion and future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, revealing 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 robust 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 everyone’s favorite baby tree.
Included in a host of new feature film reveals 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.”
Lucasfilm announced an impressive number of exciting Disney+ series and new feature films destined to expand the Star Wars galaxy like never before. 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 fan 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 studio is also revisiting “Willow” in a new series with Warwick Davis returning in the title role.
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. The next installment of the “Indiana Jones” franchise directed by James Mangold, a Star Wars feature film by writer/director Taika Waititi and “Children of Blood & Bone,” based on Tomi Adeyemi’s New York Times bestselling novel, round out the feature-film slate.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Production
For Disney+, the studio unveiled a star-studded lineup of original movies and officially confirmed it will 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. New live action biographical films set for the service include “Greek Freak,” about NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo, as well as 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.”
The studio also previewed its slate of feature films including “Jungle Cruise”; “Cruella”; a prequel to “The Lion King”; and “The Little Mermaid.”