Announced today from the Disney Investor Day 2020, was an extraordinary roll out of new series and a feature film that will appear on Disney+ over the next few years. Planning to release approximately 10 Star Wars series and 10 Marvel series, as well as 15 Disney live action, Disney Animation, and Pixar series, AND 15 Disney live action, Disney Animation, and Pixar features—in addition to the premium content set to premiere in theatres or on linear channels before coming to the streaming service. Now that is a lot of content! Also we learned that one of Disney’s most highly anticipated titles, 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.
Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company, and Bob Iger, Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board, led the virtual event, which included 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. They laid out new details on the future of The Walt Disney Company’s direct-to-consumer services Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+; a first look at Disney’s upcoming international general entertainment content brand, Star; and previews of an unbelievable slate of all-new content.
With Disney’s direct-to-consumer services exceeding a total of 137 million global paid subscriptions, Iger and Chapek shared guidance that it now expects its streaming services to hit 300–350 million 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. Beginning March 26, 2021, Disney+ will be priced in the U.S. at $7.99 per month or $79.99 per year, while the Disney Bundle with Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ will be priced at $13.99 per month (just a $1 increase so take a deep breath). A new agreement with Comcast was also announced, that 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.
A New International Star in Streaming
Building on the successful launch of Disney+ Hotstar in India and Indonesia, Disney shared new details for its international general entertainment content brand, Star, which will be included as part of Disney+ in select international 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. Star will launch in Europe and several other international markets on February 23, 2021, as a fully integrated part of Disney+, with its own branded tile and a new collection of renowned general entertainment series, movies, documentaries and more that will double the content catalog available to Disney+ subscribers.
Disney Television Studios for Disney+
Two beloved Disney properties have inspired high-profile entertainment series in development for Disney+:
- Beauty and the Beast (working title), will star Luke Evans and Josh Gad and will have new music composed by Disney Legend Alan Menken.
- Ron Moore and Jon M. Chu will reimagine the classic Swiss Family Robinson.
- Additionally, the studio is developing Percy Jackson and the Olympians based on the bestselling book series by Rick Riordan from Disney Publishing Worldwide.
And Disney Television Studios is currently in production on four live action series set to debut on Disney+ in 2021:
- The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, which picks up where the films left off. Emilio Estevez returns as Gordon Bombay and Lauren Graham joins the flock. (Super excited for this one!)
- Turner & Hooch is a buddy comedy starring Josh Peck and his partner, a sweet and slobbery mastiff.
- Big Shot, a celebration of girl power set in the world of high school basketball starring John Stamos, Yvette Nicole Brown and Jessalyn Gilsig.
- The Mysterious Benedict Society, based on the international best-selling book series, with Tony Hale and Kristen Schaal.
Walt Disney Studios Content
Some of the most exciting news that came out of of Investor Day was the Star Wars announcements. There was a host of thrilling announcements from Lucasfilm that look ahead to 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 and starring Rosario Dawson.
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.
And fans are advised to set their coordinates for December 2023 and the next feature film in the Star Wars franchise: Rogue Squadron, to be directed by Patty Jenkins of the Wonder Woman franchise.
Also announced today was 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, to round out the feature-film slate.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Production
As if the excitement could not get any better, Walt Disney Studios announced an unbelievable star-studded lineup of original movies is in the works for Disney+, including:
- Hocus Pocus 2, a spooky sequel to the 1993 Halloween classic. Adam Shankman will direct. (Oh, you know!)
- 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 Disney Legend Whoopi Goldberg, who is on board as a producer with Tyler Perry.
- 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
- Disenchanted, a sequel to the hit film Enchanted, 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.
Today’s presentation also included a preview of upcoming feature films such as Jungle Cruise; Cruella; a prequel to The Lion King; and The Little Mermaid.
Walt Disney Animation Studios
Among today’s biggest news was the reveal that Raya and the Last Dragon will debut simultaneously on Disney+ Premier Access and in theatres in March 2021. Premier Access for the title will be priced at $29.99.
Today Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS) also highlighted the upcoming feature film Encanto, which includes new songs by Emmy®, GRAMMY® and Tony Award® winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, slated for theaters in November 2021. Encanto takes you to Colombia, where a magical family live in a magical home. Directed by Byron Howard and Jared Bush, co-directed and co-written by Charise Castro Smith, and music written by Miranda.
We also learned today of the first-ever WDAS-produced animated series! New titles announced today, coming to Disney+, include 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.
There was so much more that was revealed and we will be bringing that info to you as well very soon. Frankly, with so much coming out, we need to take a little time just to process it all!! But don’t worry, there is plenty of time to go through all of the amazing content that is forthcoming, so no need to rush. Just make sure that you have the popcorn ready and that comfy blanket all set to get comfy on the couch and are ready to take it all in. Walt Disney Studios is definitely bringing it and as I always say, content is King and right now, they are well deserving of that title!