Disney Releases Announcements On Disney+ Including A Price Rise.

Image Credits: Disney+

On the first week of December, the company revealed a few impressive Disney+ announcements, with more than 100 movies and shows connected to franchises like Star Wars, Marvel, FX, and National Geographic.

The company’s new strategy focuses heavily on its one-year-old streaming service Disney+, which is all about “quality not volume,” as said by former Disney’s chairman CEO Bob who left the chair nine months ago to focus on content.

On investor’s day, during the presentation, Disney offered insight and updates on the streaming services as well as its plan for theatrical releases. It confirmed estimates for its Disney+ subscriber numbers, and the announcement on increased investment in original content confirming that it will be profitable somewhere in 2024.

New shows in the Star Wars universe, including one featuring fan-favorite characters Ahsoka Tano, were and 3 additional Marvel series featuring the cast of “The Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Disney has released pop culture icons from in front of the camera and behind for these projects and for theatrical releases. The most significant is the release by Lucasfilm on Patty Jenkins to direct “Rogue Squadron,” a new Star Wars film due sometime in 2023.

The company has several films scheduled for theaters in the next years since showcasing continues to movie theaters. This includes two new Pixar films coming in 2022, and with massive participation of Marvel movies.

CEO Bob Chapek announced Disney earning around $13 billion at the global box office in 2019, mentioning that Disney had seven films making more than $1 billion that year.

Chapek said the content strategy is more about “balance” and responding to consumer demand. 80% of Disney projects go directly to Disney+.

Because of these additions, the company expects to see an increase in its subscribers from  230 million to 260 to Disney+ by 2024. Additionally, Disney plans to increase the cost of the service from $7.99, to $8.99.

Disney will reach peak losses in the fiscal year of 2021 and it is expected to be profitable by  2024. The company is planning to spend between $ $9 billion in 2024, a result of spending more on its five core brands.

Here’s a breakdown of the updates Disney shared Thursday:

Disney+

Disney+ has 86.8 million subscribers. An increase from the 73 million the company reported at the end of its fiscal fourth quarter.

Kareem Daniel, head of the company’s new media and entertainment distribution group, announced that Disney+ will become home to 10 Marvel series, 10 Star Wars series, 15 Disney live-action, Disney Animation, and Pixar series and 15 Disney live-action, Disney Animation, and Pixar films.

In the world of Star Wars, Disney+ will add two new series from Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau, the masterminds behind “The Mandalorian” — “The Rangers of the New Republic” “Lando” and “Ahsoka.”

There will also be a series called “Lando” that follows the smooth-talking Lando Calrissian from the original trilogy of films as well as a series called “The Acolyte” which takes place during the final days of the High Republic. It has been dubbed a “mystery-thriller.”

All these new shows will join the previously announced series “Andor,” “Kenobi,” and the animated series “The Bad Batch.”

Kathleen Kennedy, the head of Lucas film, teased the fans that Hayden Christensen will assume his role as Darth Vader in “Kenobi” along with Ewan McGregor in the title role, however, she clarified that the series will take a decade later after the events of “Revenge of the Sith” motion picture.

Marvel Studios already has a few TV shows headed to the streaming platform, but Marvel Studios Director Kevin Feige announced a few more on Thursday. “Secret Invasion” following Nick Fury and the Skrull Talos, “Ironheart” which centers around teenage genius Riri Williams and “Armor Wars” features War Machine.

Disney+ will produce a few original series and films based on older Disney properties including “The Mighty Ducks” and “Turner and Hooch.” It will have live-action versions of “Pinocchio” and “Peter Pan and Wendy” which will be released exclusively to the streaming service.

Disney Animation comes with a series featuring Baymax from “Big Hero Six,” another one based on characters from “Zootopia.” And we can stay without musicals with a comedy series based on “Princess and the Frog” and “Moana.”

From Pixar, there will be series based on “Up” and “Cars” and new original series called “Win or Lose.”

The content list for Disney+ is magnificent and extensive, but executives for the company reiterated that Disney’s strategy isn’t about volume, it’s about quality. Ans it will be also about entering new markets.

Rebecca Campbell, Disney’s head of international operations and direct-to-consumer, last November it launched in Latin America and it was a tremendous success for the company and Disney+ in the next months it will launch in Eastern Europe, South Korea, and Hong Kong in 2021.

The other markets such as Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore will have Star integrated into the Disney+ app starting Feb. 23, 2021. In Europe, it will cost 8.99 Euro and the local equivalent in other markets.

Disney+ will be adding an “opt-in to mature content” feature which will allow older audiences to sign in and watch titles like “Logan,” “Modern Family” and “Atlanta.”

The company also signed a deal with Comcast to bring Disney+ and ESPN+ to the cable company’s set-top boxes and platforms and reach more than 20 million Comcast cable and internet customers.

Motion Pictures

Disney Nemesis  Warner Bros. announced they will be releasing at least 17 films on the HBO Max and in theaters on the same day next year, analysts and investors are eager to see how Disney will respond to such a challenge in a world still confronting the global pandemic.

It’s expected to have more releases from Marvel and Star Wars.

Disney executives said that due to the Pandemic they will stay flexible with the dates about future releases, but the movies  “Black Widow” and “Jungle Cruise” will head to theaters on time.

There will be a couple of new projects, the most notorious is another chapter on the Star Wars saga: the “Rogue Squadron.” Expected on Christmas 2023.

The Director will be Patty Jenkins who will be the first woman to direct a Star Wars feature film. 

Marvel added a few more titles to its packed slate including a “Fantastic Four” film.

Pixar will release two new movies coming in 2022. First is “Turning Red,” it’s the story of a young teenager turning into a giant red panda every time she gets excited. The second is “Lightyear,” featuring our old friend from “Toy Story”, “Buzz Lightyear” Chris Evans will voice Buzz Lightyear.

Hulu

Hulu has 38.8 million subscribers and Hulu+ Live TV has 4 million paying subscribers, it is the fifth-largest pay-TV provider overall. Recently, the company raised the platform’s price to $65, up from $55.

Disney announces it will use 20th Century Studios and Searchlight to create original movies exclusively for Hulu subscribers.

Two new shows will be released, one hosted by notorious comedian Steve Martin, Marin Short, and Selina Gomez called “Only murderers in the building” as well as “The Dropout,” a show about Elizabeth Holmes starring Kate McKinnon.

There is also a limited series called “Dopesick” featuring Michael Keaton, Rosario Dawson, and Peter Sarsgaard.

David E. Kelley, the famous writer behind enormous hits such as  “Big Little Lies” and “Ally McBeal” will be introducing a new show called “Nine Perfect Strangers” starring  Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy, and Regina Hall.

The streaming platform will also have new seasons of “Ramy,” “The Great” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

You think we were getting rid of the Kardasians after they announced the ending of the show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” in 2021 after 20 seasons?, well think it again, Hulu announced they will be coming to the platform.  Kris, Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Kendall, and Kylie will be creating global content streaming exclusively on Hulu in the U.S. This content is expected to debut in late 2021.

The FX channel, which has original content on Hulu, has granted “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” has another four seasons and will have new shows called “The Old Man,” starring Jeff Bridges and “Reservation Dogs” from Taika Waititi.

FX will feature an “Alien” series based on the world of the “Alien” movie franchise. The platform will also have a show called “Shogun” based on the best-selling novel by James Clavell.

Hulu expects to grow another 10 million users by 2024 reaching 60 million subscribers. Disney also anticipates that Hulu will become profitable in the fiscal year of 2023.

ESPN+

The company said it had 11.5 million ESPN+ subscribers.

Disney will add the Southeastern Conference to ESPN+ starting with the 2024 season. ABC will also become the home for Saturday afternoon games in 2024.

The company is developing a new strategy to reach younger audiences.

The platform has also given Steve A. Smith getting his own ESPN+ show and is bringing back “Peyton’s Places” for a third season.

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