Everything you need to know about the upcoming Disney streaming service, Disney+
Disney announced well over a year ago that the company plans to launch its own streaming service for its many movie and TV properties. It would compete directly with services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and upcoming ventures like Apple’s streaming TV launch. Now we know what the Disney streaming service will be called: Disney+. As you can see with its official logo, the company is trying to show that Disney+ will link up organically with the rest of its properties.
Disney is wasting no time in creating new content for the streaming service. Disney+ will be the home for lots of exclusive movies and TV series, and that includes new Pixar, Marvel Studios and Star Wars content. We will go over everything we know about the Disney streaming service and will update this post with new information as it is revealed.
What is Disney+?
As mentioned, Disney+ is the official name for the Disney streaming service that was first announced in August 2017. It will be the home for people of all ages to watch movies and TV shows across all of Disney’s brands. That includes its main Disney brand, its Pixar animated movies, and its Marvel Studios and Star Wars properties.
At the service’s placeholder website, it also shows it will have content from National Geographic when it launches. That’s a bit interesting since 21st Century Fox currently owns the majority of the National Geographic cable TV channel. In December 2017, Disney announced its plan to acquire most of Fox’s content, including its majority control of the NatGeo TV channel. When Disney+ actually launches, it will have content from that channel as well, since the deal to acquire Fox is expected to close sometime in the first half of 2019.
Disney+ launch date, price, and availability
At the moment, Disney is not revealing exactly when Disney+ will launch, other than a vague “late 2019” timeframe. No specific monthly price has been mentioned for the service. However, Disney CEO Bob Iger did tell Variety in August 2018 that he expects the cost to be lower than Netflix, as the Disney streaming service won’t have as much content as its biggest competitor at launch. Currently, Netflix charges $7.99 a month for its SD streaming content and $10.99 a month for its HD content.
Disney has also confirmed that Disney+ will launch first in the United States, although presumably, it would expand to other territories around the world if it has a successful U.S. launch. Disney does plan to reveal a lot more about its Disney+ launch plans during an investor event on April 11, 2019. That includes a first look at the interface for Disney+ plus previews of the first original shows and movies on the service.
What older movies and TV shows will Disney+ have?
When it does launch in late 2019, Disney will have access to hundreds of movies and TV shows from its 90 years of content. As we mentioned, that will include all those great animated films and live action movies from the Disney brand, from Mickey Mouse to Snow White to Beauty and the Beast to Frozen and everything in between. It will also include content that it has acquired over the years, such as the Pixar animated movies like Toy Story and The Incredibles. It will also include all of the Marvel Studios superhero movies and some of its Star Wars content. Finally, it will include TV shows from the National Geographic Channel.
Because of a current contract with Netflix, the most recent films from the studio, such as Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time, have made their streaming debuts on that service. Disney’s contract with Netflix ends in 2019. The New York Times reports that the first upcoming Disney movie that will make its streaming debut on Disney+ will be Captain Marvel. The Marvel Studios superhero film is currently scheduled to make its debut in movie theaters in March 2019., which means that it’s likely that it will be available on Disney+ as soon as it launches.
One big and important chunk of library content that may not show up on Disney+ anytime soon is the highly popular Star Wars live-action feature films. In 2016, Disney made a deal with WarnerMedia’s Turner cable TV networks to run all of the classic and current Star Wars films on its TBS, TNT, and TCM channels until 2024. This deal was made well before the idea of a Disney streaming service was given a green light. Bloomberg reports Disney has quietly tried to buy back those rights from Turner so it can show those Star Wars films on its service, but it appears that Turner has no interest in giving back those rights until the contract expires in six years.
What original movies and TV shows will Disney+ have?
n addition to its tons of library content, Disney seems to be going all out to develop original and exclusive TV shows and films for Disney+. Indeed, Deadline reports that the budgets for the exclusive movies could be as high as $35 million and that budgets for a 10-hour TV show could be as high as $100 million. Disney decided to pull a few of its upcoming films that were supposed to launch in theaters first, and now they will make their worldwide debut on the Disney streaming service.
Here’s a quick look at the original films and TV shows that are either in production now or have been completed ahead of the Disney+ launch
Disney+ original films
- Noelle – a Christmas movie starring Anna Kendrick as the daughter of Santa Claus
- Magic Camp – a family comedy centering on a summer camp for magicians
- Timmy Failure – a movie based on the popular children’s book series of the same name
- Lady and the Tramp – a live action-CGI remake of the classic Disney animated film
- Stargirl – a movie based on the young adult novel of the same name
- Togo – a movie based on the real-life story of a sled dog, Togo, and his master who have to transport a diphtheria serum to Nome, Alaska in 1925
In addition, Disney is in early development for a ton of other movies for the streaming service, including remakes of many of its live-action comedies, such as Three Men and a Baby, Father of the Bride, Honey I Shrunk The Kids, and The Parent Trap. Also, live-action remakes of other classic Disney animated films are in development for Disney+, including The Sword in the Stone and Peter Pan.
Disney+ original TV shows
Here’s a look at the TV shows that have been confirmed as being in development for Disney+:
- The Mandalorian – A 10-episode live-action TV series based in the Star Wars universe and centering on an unnamed Mandalorian
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – A continuation and conclusion to the cult-favorite animated TV series set in between Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
- Untitled Star Wars: Rogue One prequel series – a TV show that centers on rebel spy Cassian Andor, played by Diego Luna, before the events of Rogue One
- Untitled Loki series – A TV show based on Loki, the popular Marvel Studios supervillain. Actor Tom Hiddleston will reprise that role for the series.
- High School Musical – A reboot of the popular Disney Channel movie series
- Monsters Inc – A TV show based on the universe of Pixar’s Monsters Inc and Monsters University animated films
- Ink & Paint – A documentary TV series that will tell the story of the women who worked on Disney’s classic animated films
- Diary of a Female President – A show about a 12-year old Cuban-American girl who is destined to become the President of the United States. This show will actually be made by CBS Studios, rather than by Disney.
In addition, unconfirmed reports claim that many more TV shows are in the early stages of development for Disney+, including two more Marvel Studios-based shows; one based on The Scarlet Witch and the other centering on The Winter Soldier and The Falcon. Other shows rumored to be in development include a female-centric remake of High Fidelity, a reboot of The Mighty Ducks, and a new Muppets TV show.
What about all of that Fox content and Hulu?
As mentioned, Disney is planning to acquire much of the content of 21st Century Fox, with the deal to close sometime in the first half of 2019. That means Disney will have the movie and TV rights to franchises like Aliens, Predator, Avatar, Planet of the Apes, and the X-Men-Deadpool Marvel Comics characters. However, Disney+ will launch for a family audience, which means that much of Fox’s franchises, which are made for an older audience, won’t show up on the Disney streaming service.
The good news for Disney is that after the Fox deal is completed, it will also own 60 percent of Hulu, the streaming service that currently has about 20 million subscribers. Disney has indicated that it could offer content of the properties that it will acquire in the Fox deal on Hulu, rather than on Disney+.
That’s all we currently know about Disney+. What do you think of the Disney streaming service as it now stands, and do you plan to sign up for it when it launches?