Disney unloads a slew of impressive Disney+ announcements, touts 86.8 million subscribers

 Disney unloads a slew of impressive Disney+ announcements, touts 86.8 million subscribers

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Bob Chapek, CEO of the Walt Disney Company and former head of Walt Disney Parks and Experiences, speaks during a media preview of the D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, Aug. 22, 2019.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Disney is pulling out all the stops for its streaming services.

On Thursday, the company revealed a slew of impressive Disney+ announcements, with over 50 movies and shows connected to franchises like Star Wars, FX and National Geographic.

The company’s newly minted strategy, which focuses heavily on its year-old streaming service Disney+, is all about “quality not volume,” Disney’s chairman and former CEO Bob Iger said. Iger, who left the helm of the company nine months ago to focus on content, said “quality holds value.”

During the investor day presentation, Disney offered insight and updates about its trio of streaming services as well as its plan for theatrical releases.

On Disney+ fans celebrated on social media following the announcement that the platform would have a new series starring fan favorite Ahsoka Tano. The character first showed up in the animated “Clone Wars” series and has since made an appearance on the hit show “The Mandalorian.”

Disney+ will also have new shows based on “Willow,” “The Mighty Ducks” and “Percy Jackson.”

Disney also announced that it will release a new Star Wars movie in 2023 called “Rogue Squadron.” The film will be helmed by Patty Jenkins. The company has a number of films slated for theaters in the coming years, showcasing its continued commitment to movie theaters.

Here’s a breakdown of Disney’s upcoming content:


The company announced Thursday that Disney+ now has 86.8 million subscribers during its annual investor day. That’s up from the 73 million that the company reported at the end of its fiscal fourth quarter.

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.

Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau, the masterminds behind “The Mandalorian” are co-producing two additional series exclusively for Disney+ — “The Rangers of the New Republic” and “Ahsoka.”

As previously announced, “Andor” is coming to Disney+ in 2022. The 12 episode show follows K-2SO and Cassian Andor from “Rogue One” and has been called a spy thriller.

The Obi-Wan Kenobi show, helmed by Deborah Chow, is set 10 years after the events of “Revenge of the Sith.” Kathleen Kennedy, the head of Lucasfilm, announced Thursday that Hayden Christensen will reprise his role as Darth Vader along side Ewan McGregor in the title role.

The Mandalorian and the Child on Disney+’s “The Mandalorian.”

“Lando,” a series following the smooth-talking Lando Calrissian, will also come to Disney+ in the coming years. There will also be a show called “The Acolyte” which takes place during the final days of the High Republic. It has been dubbed a “mystery-thriller.”

Kennedy also showed footage from “Star Wars: The Bad Batch,” a show that centers around characters from a group of clone troopers known as Clone Force 99, or the Bad Batch, from the acclaimed “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” animated series. 

Outside of the Star Wars universe, Lucasfilm is also creating a series based on the Jim Henson film “Willow” starring Warwick Davis.

The company will also release the animated feature “Raya and the Last Dragon” on premium video on-demand through Disney+ and in theaters at the same time.

Disney+ is set to house a number of new original series and films based on older Disney properties including “The Mighty Ducks” and “Turner and Hooch.”

Live-action versions of “Pinocchio” and “Peter Pan and Wendy” will come exclusively to the streaming service. “Disenchanted,” a sequel to the hit film “Enchanted,” will also stream exclusively on Disney+ with Amy Adams returning as Giselle.

There will also be series featuring Baymax from “Big Hero Six,” one based on characters from “Zootopia” as well as musical comedy series based on “Princess and the Frog” and “Moana.”

Rebecca Campbell, Disney’s head of international operations and direct-to-consumer, said the launch in Latin America was a strong success for the company and Disney+ will launch in Eastern Europe, South Korea and Hong Kong in 2021.

In Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore will have Star integrated into the Disney+ app starting Feb. 23, 2021. In Europe Disney is raising the price to 8.99 Euro and the local equivalent in other markets.

Disney+ is also 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 announced that it had struck 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.

At the box office

On the heels of rival Warner Bros. announcing that it will release 17 films on HBO Max and in theaters on the same day next year, analysts and investors are keen to see how Disney will maneuver through the uncertainty still poised by a global pandemic.

Daniel said that theatrical release help establish franchises, something Disney has done well in the last decade with blockbusters from Marvel and Star Wars.

Theatrically, Lucasfilm will bring the final Indiana Jones film to the big screen in 2022. The film is set to be shot during spring 2021. As well as filming an adaption of “Children of the Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi.

Kennedy announced that Patty Jenkins would be entering the director’s chair to helm a Star Wars film due out Christmas 2023. The film will be called “Rogue Squadron.”

“Jungle Cruise,” which was postponed from 2020 will arrive in theaters in July 2021. It stars Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson and is based on the Disney theme park ride of the same name.


As of Dec. 2, the company said it has 38.8 million Hulu subscribers and Hulu+ Live TV has 4 million paying subscribers, the fifth largest pay TV provider overall. Recently, the company raised the platform’s price to $65, up from $55.

After success of films like “Palm Springs,” “Run” and “Bad Hair,” Disney will use 20th Century Studios and Searchlight to create original movies exclusively for Hulu.

The platform will also be host to a show called “Only Murders in the Building” starring Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez 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 writer behind “Big Little Lies” and “Ally McBeal” is heading up a show called “Nine Perfect Strangers” for Hulu that stars Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy and Regina Hall.

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

The Kardashian family, which are ending their show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” in 2021 after season 20, will be coming to the platform, the company said.

Kris, Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Kendall and Kylie will create global content that will stream 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.


On Thursday, the company said it had 11.5 million ESPN+ subscribers.

Disney has secured a deal with the SEC to 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 also going to lean into sports betting in an effort 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 second season.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of CNBC.

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