‘Moana’ animated collection, Buzz Lightyear prequel, live-action ‘Pinocchio’ among the many new bulletins
The Walt Disney Co.’s streaming plans shifted into hyper velocity Thursday, because the studio unveiled a galaxy’s value of latest streaming choices together with plans for 10 “Star Wars” collection spinoffs and 10 Marvel collection that can debut on Disney+.
In a digital presentation for buyers, Disney chief govt Bob Chapek laid out super-sized ambitions for it direct-to-consumer efforts, leaning closely on a few of the firm’s greatest manufacturers. Over the subsequent few years, Disney is planning to premiere instantly on Disney+ not simply an armada of “Star Wars” and Marvel collection however 15 live-action, Pixar and animated collection.
Chapek mentioned Disney+ subscribers worldwide have reached 86.8 million, up from 74 million final month. The service has simply exceeded most forecasts, reaching that quantity 13 months since its launch in November 2019. Disney will enhance the month-to-month worth by $1 to $8 a month in March. The corporate forecasts 230-260 million subscribers by 2024.
To maintain subscriber numbers climbing, Disney introduced a blizzard of remakes, sequels and spinoffs of assorted styles and sizes on Thursday – 100 new titles in all – together with a “Magnificence and the Beast” prequel collection, a “Moana” animated collection, a “Three Males and a Child” reboot with Zac Efron, a “Swiss Household Robinson” collection and, sure, even the Kardashians.
However Disney additionally saved its greatest movies – together with Marvel’s “Black Widow,” Pixar’s “Luca,” a “Lion King” prequel – on track for theatrical launch. Whereas WarnerMedia final week pushed its whole 2021 slate to streaming, Disney executives signaled that theatrical launch stays important to its big-budget spectacles and its enterprise, total.
“We construct the franchises by the theatrical window,” mentioned Chapek.
Nonetheless, the four-hour presentation introduced a extra seamless imaginative and prescient of content material throughout platforms that made scant point out of its closed theme parks, or of the pandemic. That included a dizzying quantity of collection, lots of them linked to big-screen films previous and current. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige mentioned a pair of latest Marvel collection – “Secret Invasion,” with Samuel Jackson, and “Ironheart” – will “tie on to Marvel future movies.” The one distinction between the corporate’s short-form TV content material and its theatrical content material, mentioned Bob Iger, govt chairman, “is size.”
Not all of the information was in streaming. Lucasfilm introduced that Patty Jenkins (“Surprise Lady“) will direct the subsequent “Star Wars” theatrical movie, “Rogue Squadron,” with a launch in theaters deliberate for Christmas 2023.
Jenkins turns into the primary girl to direct a “Star Wars” movie. In a video, she mentioned the movie, about starship fighters, will fulfill a long-held dream of hers because the daughter of an Air Pressure captain.
“When he misplaced his life in service of this nation, it ignited a want in me to show all of that tragedy and thrill into in the future making the best fighter pilot film of all time,” mentioned Jenkins in a video message.
Different movies are going forward with theatrical plans, amongst them a Buzz Lightyear prequel, due in 2020, and the “Black Panther” sequel. Feige confirmed that the position of the late Chadwick Boseman won’t be recast however that its makers are nonetheless keen on “exploring the world of Wakanda” in Ryan Coogler’s movie, due in theaters July 2022.
Among the many “Star Wars” collection are two spinoffs of “The Mandalorian,” set throughout the collection’ timeline – “Rangers of the New Republic” and “Ahsoka,” with Rosario Dawson. Capturing additionally not too long ago started on “Andor,” a collection developed by Tony Gilroy (“Bourne Id“), with Diego Luna’s character from the 2016 movie “Rogue One.”
Different, much less anticipated “Star Wars” stars are returning. Hayden Christensen, who performed Anakin Skywalker within the prequels, will reprise his position as Demise Vader in “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” with Ewan McGregor.
“We’ve got an unlimited and expansive timeline within the ‘Star Wars’ mythology, spanning over 25,000 years of historical past within the galaxy with every period being a wealthy useful resource for storytelling,” mentioned Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “Now with Disney+ we will discover limitless story prospects like by no means earlier than and fulfill the promise that there’s really a ‘Star Wars’ story for everybody.”
Disney steered a number of upcoming films to its streaming service, together with “Pinocchio,” with Tom Hanks, “Peter Pan & Wendy” and an “Enchanted” sequel with Amy Adams titled “Disenchanted.” The animated “Raya and the Final Dragon” will in March debut concurrently in theaters and by premier entry on Disney+. That’s the identical strategy the corporate took earlier this fall for “Mulan,” with a $30 early-access charge on high of the month-to-month subscription.
Disney made different changes to reorient its movie operations round streaming. Hulu, which this yr debuted the Andy Samberg comedy “Palm Springs” and Sarah Paulson thriller “Run,” can be residence to extra authentic movies from twentieth Century Studios and Searchlight Photos. Hulu may even be the brand new residence of the Kardashians, not too long ago departed from E!. The streaming service additionally renewed “The Handmaid’s Story” for a fifth season.
FX is creating the primary collection based mostly on the “Alien” movies, with Noah Hawley (“Fargo“) directing.
Many in Hollywood had eagerly awaited Disney’s response following WarnerMedia’s announcement final week that it’ll launch all 17 of its 2021 movies – from “Dune” to “The Matrix 4” – concurrently on its streaming platform, HBO Max, and in theaters.
That transfer set off shockwaves prompting a backlash from a lot of the movie trade, together with theater chains, producing companions and a few of the studio’s high expertise. Christopher Nolan criticized the plans as “a little bit of a large number.” Some mentioned the long-forecast finish occasions for cinemas had arrived. Others questioned the economics of one among Hollywood’s high studios sacrificing a yr of field workplace – and the cascading home windows of launch that observe a theatrical run – to salvage the rocky rollout of HBO Max – a service that many HBO subscribers have but nonetheless haven’t activated.
Wall Road accepted. Shares for WarnerMedia’s mum or dad firm AT&T are up about 6% for the reason that announcement by Jason Kilar, chief govt of WarnerMedia and a veteran of Hulu and Amazon. John Stankey, the AT&T chief govt, on Tuesday mentioned the pandemic had unleased a brand new media actuality unlikely to fade after COVID-19. “That horse left the barn,” he mentioned.
In comparison with WarnerMedia, the current state of affairs could be very totally different for Disney, which has already laid the muse for a formidable Netflix competitor in Disney+ and which has for years dominated the field workplace. The corporate’s movies accounted for greater than $13 billion in ticket gross sales worldwide final yr and 38% of moviegoing within the U.S. and Canada. Seven Disney movies topped $1 billion worldwide.
“Of the 100 new titles introduced right now, 80% of them will go to Disney+,” mentioned Chapek. “However we had $13 billion of field workplace final yr and that’s clearly not one thing to sneeze at. For us it’s about stability.”
As Disney made its presentation to buyers Thursday, its shares reached an all-time excessive of $160.