Once a year, Disney gathers its investors and tells them what's ahead. This year, our minds were blown.
The COVID pandemic has seen all sorts of shifts in Hollywood. We've extensively covered the HBO Max move to release movies online and in theaters at the same time, and we've shown the postponements from other studios.
Now, Disney had its chance to unveil its plan for investors, and it gave us a glimpse into the future of Hollywood and some trends to mark. In the hours since, Disney's stock has been surging and the internet has been abuzz with the announcements and chatter.
Let's look at what's going on.
Come one, come all to #DisneyInvestorDay! Expect major announcements from the worlds of @DisneyAnimation, @Pixar, @MarvelStudios, @StarWars, @NatGeo, @DisneyPlus, and more. Follow this thread for live updates starting at 4:30 p.m. ET / 1:30 p.m. PT today! pic.twitter.com/Duh0KHcojG
Come one, come all to #DisneyInvestorDay! Expect major announcements from the worlds of @DisneyAnimation, @Pixar, @MarvelStudios, @StarWars, @NatGeo, @DisneyPlus, and more. Follow this thread for live updates starting at 4:30 p.m. ET / 1:30 p.m. PT today! pic.twitter.com/Duh0KHcojG— Disney (@Disney) December 10, 2020
That was the tweet that started it all. In the subsequent hours, Disney tweeted out everything they had planned moving forward. The company announced a target of 100+ new titles a year for Disney+ and revealed a slate on everything they were already working on.
Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer, the Walt Disney Company, and Bob Iger, Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board, led the virtual event.
“The tremendous success we’ve achieved across our unique portfolio of streaming services, with more than 137 million subscriptions worldwide, has bolstered our confidence in our acceleration toward a DTC-first business model,” said Chapek. “With our amazing creative teams and our ever-growing collection of the high-quality branded entertainment that consumers want, we believe we are incredibly well-positioned to achieve our long-term goals.”
These numbers are staggering, but how will they pay for it? Right now, price hikes.
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.
That's up a dollar. But when you have that many subscribers, it comes out to a lot.
What does this mean for Hollywood?
Well, Disney is focusing most of its energy on Disney+ moving forward.
We heard announcements on lots of new shows (which we will get to in a second), but they are also going to release movies in theaters and on the app. This will ensure they can get the benefits of both subscriptions and box office take. This is similar to the HBO Max strategy, but Disney is releasing far fewer movies.
Instead, they're focusing on projects headed to Disney+, which they think might draw a bigger audience. They didn't announce that any of their other titles will hit Disney+, aside from a few family films we will highlight later.
According to CNBC, Chapek said Disney’s content strategy is about “balance” and meeting consumer demand. Of the around 100 projects that Disney shared, 80% are going directly to Disney+. Still, these new projects are expected to pay off majorly, with the company now saying it expects to see between 230 million to 260 million subscribers to Disney+ by 2024.
With those kinds of profits, it's no wonder they are trying to add to such a deep catalog. To learn more about all the content featured, check out the 2020 Investor Day Programming Fact Sheet.
Every project Disney announced at its 2020 investor meeting
Kareem Daniel, head of the company’s new media and entertainment distribution group, revealed 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.
You can read descriptions of the shows on their Twitter or in this Deadline article. Suffice it to say, it's a lot.
The next feature film in the Star Wars franchise, releasing in December 2023, will be Rogue Squadron.
Patty Jenkins of the Wonder Woman franchise is on board to direct, and her announcement was the best of the day. It actually made me tear up.
Here's the rest of the Lucasfilm lineup:
- Rangers of the New Republic
- Obi-Wan Kenobi
- The Bad Batch
- Star Wars: Visions
- The Acolyte
- A Droid Story
We are entering an unprecedented landscape post Endgame, and Marvel is looking forward to expanding its titles in film and TV. Among the fun titles is a holiday special written and directed by James Gunn. In a series directed by Kat Coiro and Anu Valia, Tatiana Maslany will star as She-Hulk, with Tim Roth returning as the Abomination, and Hulk himself, Mark Ruffalo.
She-Hulk arrives to the MCU! Tatiana Maslany will portray Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk, and Tim Roth returns as the Abomination, and Hulk himself, Mark Ruffalo, will appear in the series. Directed by Kat Coiro and Anu Valia, She-Hulk is coming to #DisneyPlus. pic.twitter.com/lTHhy9s4dY
She-Hulk arrives to the MCU! Tatiana Maslany will portray Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk, and Tim Roth returns as the Abomination, and Hulk himself, Mark Ruffalo, will appear in the series. Directed by Kat Coiro and Anu Valia, She-Hulk is coming to #DisneyPlus. pic.twitter.com/lTHhy9s4dY— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) December 11, 2020
Here's what else Marvel has coming:
- The Falcon and The Winter Soldier
- What If…?
- Ms. Marvel
- Moon Knight
- Secret Invasion
- Armor Wars
- Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
- I Am Groot
One of the more fun items of the day is that we are getting a Buzz Lightyear origin movie based on the character, not the toy. He will be voiced by Chris Evans and help Pixar's ongoing expansion of the titles they have while building out new worlds.
Here's Pixar's slate:
- Inside Pixar
- Pixar Popcorn
- Dug Days
- Win or Lose
It's hard to believe that the studio that started it all ranks fourth in its own announcements, but here we are. We are seeing Disney return to the well with sequels to popular franchises, sports stories, and reboots of their other titles. Chip and Dale was one of the more obscure and hilarious announcements.
Look forward to the following from Disney:
- Hocus Pocus 2
- Three Men and a Baby
- The Keanon Lowe project
- Greek Freak
- The Chris Paul Project
- Flora & Ulysses
- Cheaper by the Dozen
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid
- The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild
- Night at the Museum
- Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers
- Peter Pan & Wendy
- Sister Act 3
Walt Disney Animation Studios
Disney will continue its sheer dominance in the animation world with a slew of princess shows coming to Disney+. They'll dig back into their successful and diverse titles to produce a ton of content for families.
- Raya and the Last Dragon
- Moana, The Series
This is one of the hidden gems on Disney+. Their new flagship program comes from Will Smith and Darren Aronofsky, where Will traverses the mysteries of this planet. Sounds epic.
Finally from @NatGeo comes Welcome to Earth 🌎 (working title) – an epic, stunning series from @DarrenAronofsky in which Will Smith embarks on an awe-inspiring journey to unlock the secrets of this planet's most extraordinary, unexplained phenomena. Coming to @DisneyPlus. pic.twitter.com/nWSLYQYTFX
Finally from @NatGeo comes Welcome to Earth 🌎 (working title) – an epic, stunning series from @DarrenAronofsky in which Will Smith embarks on an awe-inspiring journey to unlock the secrets of this planet's most extraordinary, unexplained phenomena. Coming to @DisneyPlus. pic.twitter.com/nWSLYQYTFX— Disney (@Disney) December 10, 2020
- Genius: Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Secrets of the Whales
- A Real Bug’s Life
- America the Beautiful
- Limitless With Chris Hemsworth
- Welcome to Earth (working title)
Walt Disney Television
Again, focused on rebooting old titles, Disney TV will work more in the live-action realm and take some of their beloved titles and turn them around for a new generation.
- The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers
- Big Shot
- The Mysterious Benedict Society
- Turner & Hooch
What does it all mean?
This covered a lot of ground, but we didn't even mention all the things on Hulu and FX that Disney technically owns and will release as well, like an Alien TV show run by Noah Hawley, and four more seasons of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Plus new seasons of Handmaid's Tale.
Look, this is a huge pile of sequels, reboots, and reimaginings. I think I counted maybe ten original ideas among the bunch, if that.
I think that's kind of disheartening. Disney used to pave the way for original ideas and was the platform where you could take risks.
Still, this much content presents an immeasurable amount of jobs and opportunities.
This is a lot to take in, and it's hard to know if all of these titles on multiple platforms will create fatigue for Star Wars and Marvel.
The optimist inside me thinks it's great we're seeing stories expand outside one norm and enter realms that have not had equal representation. I'm excited for a new generation of voices to take on titles that I hold near and dear to my heart.
I hope this encourages platforms all over the world to create more and trust a diverse array of creators with the keys to their kingdoms as well.
But please make room for new stories. We need them.
What do you think of Disney's plans? Leave us a comment.