Disney+ Announces US Launch Slate and Date – Nov 2019. Other Regions To Come Later.
Last night, Disney announced its new streaming service Disney+ would be launching in the US in November 2019 at a price point of $6.99 per month or $69.99 annually. Frustratingly, they still haven’t announced specific dates for the worldwide rollout, however, they have said they plan to launch in “nearly all major regions of the world within the next two years.”
Along with the launch date and price, Disney+ has clarified what original shows and movies will be available to US subscribers at launch, and also added a couple of new series in there too.
Available At Launch
On the live-action drama front, ‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series’ and Star Wars series ‘The Mandalorian’ will be available at launch.
They are joined by animated series ‘Forky Asks a Question’, which features ‘Toy Story 4’s Forky asking important questions about how the world works, and ‘SparkShorts’, which is a series of Pixar shorts designed to discover new storytellers and explore new storytelling techniques from across the studio.
They will also have unscripted series such as ‘Encore!’, which reunites former castmates of a high school musical to re-creating their original performance in a high school reunion like no other; A documentary series chronicles the 65+ year history of Walt Disney Imagineering; ‘Marvel’s Hero Project’, which sees Marvel celebrates real-life young heroes who have dedicated their lives to selfless acts of bravery and kindness; And ‘The World According to Jeff Goldblum’, which sees Jeff pulls the thread on deceptively familiar objects, such as sneakers or ice cream, and unravels a wonderful world of astonishing connections, fascinating science and history.
Post-launch, Disney+ has its plans laid out for a pile more content in the next 2 years. Year One has dramas such as Marvel’s ‘The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’, which sees Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprise their MCU roles; ‘Diary of a Female President’ which follows a Cuban-American 12-year-old girl as she navigates the ups and downs of middle school and her journey to becoming the future president of the United States.
On the animation front they have ‘Lamp Life’ starring ‘Toy Story’s Bo Peep; ‘Monsters at Work’ which sees Billy Crystal and John Goodman reprise their ‘Monsters, Inc.’ characters; ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ which returns for a brand new 12-episode season; And animated series ‘Marvel’s What If…?’, which takes an alternate reality look at pivotal moment from the MCU and turn it on its head.
Unscripted shows include cooking series ‘Be Our Chef’, which invites families from diverse backgrounds to join a Disney-inspired cooking competition at Walt Disney World; ‘Cinema Relics’, which looks at beloved films through the props & costumes that made them unique; ‘Making Frozen 2’, which sees Walt Disney Animation Studios is opening its doors for the first time ever, allowing cameras to capture in intimate detail how the voice cast, directors, and team of artists come together to create a movie; ‘Magic of Animal Kingdom’, which follows the animal caretakers running one of the most advanced veterinary facilities in the world; Documentary series ‘Marvel’s 616’ which explores the intersection between Marvel’s rich legacy of stories, characters and creators and the world outside your window; ‘(Re)Connect’ sees families disconnect from their busy lives, devices and outside influences in order to address a relatable issue that’s driving a wedge between them; ‘Rogue Trip’ follows renowned journalist Bob Woodruff travels the world with his 27-year old son, Mack, and visits all of the places your average tourist is least likely to venture; And ‘Shop Class’, which is a competition series featuring teams of inventive students, who are tasked with designing, building, and testing new contraptions.
Still want more? Year Two has the much talked about Marvel series ‘Loki’ starring Tom Hiddleston, along with ‘WandaVision’, which sees Elizabeth Olsen return as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany reprising his role as The Vision. This will also be the year of the Star Wars Cassian Andor series starring Diego Luna in the title role and Alan Tudyk as K-2S0.
There are also more unscripted shows including ‘Earthkeepers’, which follows conservationists and the animals they’ve devoted their careers to studying, diving deep into the personal trials and professional breakthroughs of protecting the planet’s most endangered species; And documentary series ‘Ink & Paint’, which tells the story of Animation at Disney, and how an unsung workforce of trailblazing women helped create some of the greatest animated films of all time.
If all that wasn’t enough, they will have a slew of film content available too (post-cinematic release), including movies such as ‘Captain Marvel’, ‘Dumbo’, ‘Avengers: Endgame’, ‘Aladdin’, ‘Frozen 2’ and ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’. On top of that, you’ll have access to the Disney back-catalogue of films such as Disney classics like ‘Bambi’, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’, the Pixar movies, the Marvel movies, and the ‘Star Wars’ films.
On the tv front, they’ve included shows such as ‘Star Wars Rebels’, ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’, ‘Boy Meets World’, ‘Kim Possible’ and various Marvel animated series. Thanks to the Fox acquisition, it also includes ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ and every episode of ‘The Simpsons’.
So, why the delay with the UK launch of Disney+?
Well, there are a number of factors, but one of them is getting the rights to their own content back. Prior to coming up with its own streaming service, Disney has, naturally, been selling its movies and tv shows to other broadcasters internationally. Whilst the deal to buy 20th Century Fox in the US handed them a slew of additional shows it could add across the Atlantic, in the UK and other territories, those shows are sold to different providers. For example, Disney+ at launch in the US will have all episodes of ‘The Simpsons’ available to watch. In the UK, Sky One has those rights. Sky also has a deal with Disney at the moment, which allows them to run various Disney and Marvel movies exclusively. The chances are, that deal will end when Disney+ launches in the UK.
“But wait,” I hear you say. “Didn’t Fox own a large portion of Sky? So don’t Disney now own that?” It is true, Fox did own a lot of shares in Sky, and were actually trying to buy it outright prior to the Disney acquisition, which would have handed the whole of Sky to Disney after the sale. Unfortunately, it was decided to sell off those shares separately to US telecommunications giant Comcast, who are now Sky’s parent company. Had Disney managed to acquire Sky via the Fox takeover, that would probably have made the UK Disney+ launch much easier. Now Disney will have to wait for rights to expire before they can reclaim their shows and films.
One slight glimmer of hope is Disney do have a UK streaming service set up already called DisneyLife which currently holds a lot of Disney’s older back-catalogue. It’s unclear what will happen to that service once Disney+ launches in the UK, but it might make it easier for them to launch earlier here than in other worldwide territories, albeit with slightly different content. We’ll keep you posted when we hear more.
Dave has over 20 years experience in the digital industry, and is founder and editor of Geektown. Obviously a huge geek himself, he can often be found in front of the latest tv show or movie, on various video games, or with his head in a comic book.