Though titans like Netflix and Amazon continue to reign, more and more companies are launching their own subscription-based streaming channels, where viewers can have easier and more specific access to the content they desire. And with its giant catalogue of animated classics and modern hits, it was always a safe bet that Disney would go the streaming route. And now it is, with its direct-to-consumer app Disney+, set to launch later this year.
Information about Disney+ continues to trickle out to the public, so here is a rundown of everything we know about the service so far.
What is Disney+?
As stated above, Disney+ is a direct-to-consumer app in the mold of something like Netflix, where paid subscribers gain access to a library of Disney content, including television shows and movies. We don't know what the exact interface will look like just yet, but we imagine it'll be accessible on phones, computers, and other TV streaming devices like Roku and Apple TV.
When will it debut?
Though we don't have an exact release date for Disney+ just yet, Deadline reported in 2018 that the app was set for a fall 2019 launch. As reported by Bloomberg and discussed in an early February earnings call, Iger will give investors their first look at the service at a meeting on April 11.
Which shows and movies will be on it?
While a number of Disney titles, like Avengers: Infinity War and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, are currently available on Netflix, that won't be the case for long. Disney+ plans to reacquire all properties currently licensed out to other services, and make their app the exclusive home for Disney-owned properties like Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and National Geographic. While it may take a few years for all of those titles to appear on the app, at launch, Disney+ should have about 500 films and 7,000 episodes of television available for consumers.
We don't know what, specifically, will be available for that launch, but Disney has announced a number of exciting projects that will premiere exclusively on the app, for instance...
Here's a brief rundown of all the original films and TV series Disney+ has announced so far:
-Several live-action TV series based on Marvel characters, including Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, Anthony Mackie as Falcon, and Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier.
-Two live-action Star Wars TV series: The Mandalorian, directed by Jon Favreau and starring Pedro Pascal, and a show that follows Rogue One's Cassian Andor, played by Diego Luna, in the events before his death.
-A seventh season of the animated Star Wars series, The Clone Wars.
-An animated TV series set in the Monsters, Inc. universe titled Monsters at Work. Billy Crystal and John Goodman will reprise their roles of Mike and Sulley, respectively, in a series that takes place six months after the original film's story. The show follows Tylor Tuskmon (Ben Feldman), a young mechanic on the Monsters Inc. Facilities Team who wants to work on the Laugh Floor alongside his heroes, Mike and Sulley.
-A TV series based on the Disney Channel movie High School Musical.
-Another TV series inspired by the film High Fidelity, starring Zoë Kravitz.
-A live-action Book of Enchantment TV series about famous Disney villains (like the Evil Queen from Snow White and Ursula from The Little Mermaid) based on the Villains book series by Serena Valentino.
-A TV adaptation of the Y.A. book series The Grimm Legacy.
-A film based on Jerry Spinelli's coming-of-age novel Stargirl, starring America's Got Talent's Grace VanderWaal.
-A live-action film based on the Timmy Failure book series.
-Remakes of a number of classic Disney films, like Lady and the Tramp, Peter Pan, The Sword in the Stone, 3 Men and a Baby, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and The Parent Trap.
Additionally, Captain Marvel will be the first Marvel movie to come exclusively to Disney+, and every subsequent Marvel movie will follow suit. We imagine the same will be true with the upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX and every Lucasfilm movie thereafter. Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed in the recent earnings call that there are no plans to narrow the window between theatrical releases and a film's appearance on the app, meaning all theatrically released films will take several months to be available to stream.
There are also a few things that definitely won't be on Disney+. Netflix's remaining original Marvel shows (i.e. Daredevil and Jessica Jones) will stay on their own platforms. Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home won't appear either, as Sony owns their licensing rights.
Disney+ also won't have any R-rated movies. According to Iger, once the 20th Century Fox acquisition is complete, any material deemed family unfriendly—like Deadpool—will instead appear on Hulu, which Disney partially owns.
What will it cost?
Iger told Variety that a Disney+ subscription will initially be priced below Netflix's $8-$14 monthly fees. That seems insanely cheap considering the quality and quantity of new and old material Disney+ has announced. According to Business Insider, the app needs 32 million subscribers to break even, a number that sounds small considering Disney's massive impact, but it will still be a steep hill to climb; Netflix, by comparison, has 50 million subscribers, but has been around for more than a decade. We're sure Disney+ will get there eventually, but those subscription prices are likely to jump as more and more new shows and films are added.