By The D23 Team
Disney’s Investor Day 2020 delivered an amazing array of announcements from across The Walt Disney Company, including the exciting news that over the next few years, Disney+ plans to release approximately 10 Star Wars series and 10 Marvel series, as well as 15 Disney live action, Disney Animation, and Pixar series, as well as 15 Disney live action, Disney Animation, and Pixar features—and that’s in addition to the premium content set to premiere in theatres or on linear channels before coming to the streaming service. Today we learned that one of Disney’s most highly anticipated titles, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Raya and the Last Dragon, will be available on Disney+ with Premier Access in most Disney+ markets, at the same time as it is released in theaters, on March 5, 2021.
Today’s Investor Day featured an abundance of new details on the future of The Walt Disney Company’s direct-to-consumer services Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+; a first look at Disney’s upcoming international general entertainment content brand, Star; and previews of an unbelievable slate of all-new content. Read on to discover everything we know so far!
Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company, and Bob Iger, Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board, led the virtual event, which included presentations from leaders of the company’s content and distribution teams, along with financial updates from Christine McCarthy, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and Lowell Singer, Senior Vice President, Investor Relations.
Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company
“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 Mr. 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.”
Bob Iger, Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board
During the Investor Day presentation, the company announced that, as of December 2, its portfolio of direct-to-consumer services has exceeded a total of 137 million global paid subscriptions, including 11.5 million ESPN+ subscribers, 38.8 million Hulu subscribers, and a staggering 86.8 million Disney+ subscribers since its launch in November 2019. After greatly exceeding expectations, The Walt Disney Company shared guidance that it now expects its streaming services to hit 300–350 million total subscriptions by fiscal 2024, driven primarily by a significant increase in content output. Disney+ alone is targeting to release more than 100 titles per year.
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. A new agreement with Comcast was also announced, that will bring Disney+ and ESPN+ experiences to Comcast X1 set-top boxes and Flex platforms in the first quarter of 2021, joining Hulu which became available on these platforms in Spring 2020. Additionally, Hulu customers will also be able to subscribe to ESPN+ within the Hulu user interface and access the ESPN+ lineup of sports programming there beginning in early 2021.
A New International Star in Streaming
Building on the successful launch of Disney+ Hotstar in India and Indonesia, Disney shared new details for its international general entertainment content brand, Star, which will be included as part of Disney+ in select international markets, and launch as a separate streaming service in Latin America as Star+. The Star brand will serve as home to thousands of hours of television and movies from Disney’s creative studios, including Disney Television Studios, FX, 20th Century Studios, 20th Television, and more, enhanced by the addition of local programming from the regions where available.
Star will launch in Europe and several other international markets on February 23, 2021, as a fully integrated part of Disney+, with its own branded tile and a new collection of renowned general entertainment series, movies, documentaries and more that will double the content catalog available to Disney+ subscribers. Disney+ will be updated globally to offer enhanced parental controls enabling the family-friendly experience parents expect, including the ability to set limits on access to content for specific profiles based on content ratings and the ability to add a PIN to lock profiles with access to mature content. In Europe, the service will be priced at €8.99 per month or €89.90 per year, with a similar pricing adjustment in the other Star launch markets, including Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. The streaming service will continue its global rollout, now with Star, in new markets beginning with Singapore on February 23, 2021, followed by Eastern Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea later in 2021.
In Latin America, to take advantage of the region’s portfolio of live sporting events, the company will launch Star+ as a standalone streaming service. Star+ brings together an unrivaled Star content collection, local original productions, and an array of live sports from ESPN, including top soccer leagues, grand slam tennis, and more. Star+ will launch in June 2021 as a stand-alone service for ~$7.50 per month (or the local equivalent), or as part of an attractively priced bundle with Disney+ for ~$9.00 per month (or the local equivalent).
All the Stories We Can’t Wait to Experience!
Today’s big event brought updates on some of the titles that have already been on our can’t-wait-to-watch list; along with announcements of new projects that we we’re beyond thrilled to know are in the works.
Disney Television Studios for Disney+
Two beloved Disney properties have inspired high-profile entertainment series in development for Disney+:
- Beauty and the Beast (working title), will star Luke Evans and Josh Gad and will have new music composed by Disney Legend Alan Menken.
- Ron Moore and Jon M. Chu will reimagine the classic Swiss Family Robinson.
- Additionally, the studio is developing Percy Jackson and the Olympians based on the bestselling book series by Rick Riordan from Disney Publishing Worldwide.
And Disney Television Studios is currently in production on four live action series set to debut on Disney+ in 2021:
- The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, which picks up where the films left off. Emilio Estevez returns as Gordon Bombay and Lauren Graham joins the flock.
- Turner & Hooch is a buddy comedy starring Josh Peck and his partner, a sweet and slobbery mastiff.
- Big Shot, a celebration of girl power set in the world of high school basketball starring John Stamos, Yvette Nicole Brown and Jessalyn Gilsig.
- The Mysterious Benedict Society, based on the international best-selling book series, with Tony Hale and Kristen Schaal.
National Geographic’s ambitious Disney+ slate includes high profile titles Limitless With Chris Hemsworth, Welcome to Earth (working title) featuring Will Smith, and a fourth season of the Emmy®-winning anthology series Genius, which will profile Martin Luther King, Jr.
The studio also announced the new documentary film Cousteau, which will debut in theatres before coming to Disney+, as well as the new documentary series Secrets of the Whales, A Real Bug’s Life, and America The Beautiful.
Content for Hulu and Star
Under a multi-year deal, the Kardashian Jenners will create new global content that will stream exclusively on Hulu in the U.S. and internationally on Star, with an expected debut in late 2021. Next year, Hulu and Star are also set to premiere the premium series Only Murders in the Building, which reunites two comedy icons: Disney Legend Steve Martin and Martin Short, who will be joined by Selena Gomez; The Dropout, which tells the story of the con artist that captured the world—Elizabeth Holmes, played by Kate McKinnon; and Dopesick, a new drama series inspired by true events with a cast that includes Michael Keaton, Peter Sarsgaard, and Rosario Dawson.
A slate of FX originals, including The Old Man, American Horror Stories, Platform, Reservation Dogs, and Y: The Last Man will be available on Hulu in the U.S. and Star in multiple international markets in 2021.
It was announced today that ahead of its eagerly anticipated season four premiere, Hulu’s award-winning hit drama series The Handmaid’s Tale has been renewed for a fifth season.
Additionally, Nicole Kidman will star in Nine Perfect Strangers, which she executive produces with David E. Kelley. Look for that on Hulu next year.
In addition to Hulu in the U.S., the FX premium content brand will bring its library of award-winning content and exclusive new originals to Star around the world.
- Devotees of the live-action sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia have reason to celebrate: Today we learned that FX has ordered four additional seasons of the series—smashing the record for longest running live-action sitcom in television history.
- The group also announced today that the first series adaptation of the sci-fi horror classic Alien is in development, and advanced talks are underway on a two-season order of The Stones, a drama series about the world’s greatest and most enduring rock ‘n’ roll band, The Rolling Stones.
- FX will also embark on one of its most sweeping, sophisticated and adult series with the retelling of James Clavell’s beloved epic saga, Shōgun, set within feudal Japan.
Walt Disney Studios Content
Investor Day 2020 is the way to a host of thrilling announcements from Lucasfilm that look ahead to exciting Disney+ series and new feature films destined to expand the Star Wars galaxy like never before! Among the projects for Disney+ are Obi-Wan Kenobi, starring Ewan McGregor with Hayden Christensen returning as Darth Vader, and two series set in the Mandalorian era from Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni: Rangers of the New Republic and Ahsoka, a series featuring the fan favorite character Ahsoka Tano and starring Rosario Dawson.
Additional new titles announced for Disney+ include Andor, Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Star Wars: Visions, Lando, The Acolyte, and A Droid Story.
The studio is also revisiting Willow in a new series with Warwick Davis returning in the title role.
And fans are advised to set their coordinates for December 2023 and the next feature film in the Star Wars franchise: Rogue Squadron, to be directed by Patty Jenkins of the Wonder Woman franchise.
Also announced today was the next installment of the Indiana Jones franchise directed by James Mangold, a Star Wars feature film by writer/director Taika Waititi and Children of Blood & Bone, based on Tomi Adeyemi’s New York Times bestselling novel, to round out the feature-film slate.
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Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Production
An unbelievable star-studded lineup of original movies is in the works for Disney+, including:
- Hocus Pocus 2, a spooky sequel to the 1993 Halloween classic. Adam Shankman will direct.
- Reboots of Three Men and a Baby with Zac Efron, and Cheaper by the Dozen with Kenya Barris and Gabrielle Union, and a new Sister Act film starring Disney Legend Whoopi Goldberg, who is on board as a producer with Tyler Perry.
But that’s far from all. Additional Disney+ projects revealed include:
- Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers, a hybrid live action-animated film starring John Mulaney and Andy Samberg.
- Pinocchio, directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks.
- Peter Pan & Wendy, starring Jude Law as Captain Hook and Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell.
- Disenchanted, a sequel to the hit film Enchanted, with Amy Adams returning as Giselle.
New live-action biographical films set for the service include:
Greek Freak, about NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo, as well as projects about Keanon Lowe and Chris Paul.
The group is also developing new animated takes on favorite 20th Century Studios’ titles Diary of a Wimpy Kid; The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild, starring Simon Pegg; and Night at the Museum.
Today’s presentation also included a preview of upcoming feature films such as Jungle Cruise; Cruella; a prequel to The Lion King; and The Little Mermaid.
Walt Disney Animation Studios
Among today’s biggest news was the reveal that Raya and the Last Dragon will debut simultaneously on Disney+ Premier Access and in theatres in March 2021. Premier Access for the title will be priced at $29.99.
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Today Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS) also highlighted the upcoming feature film Encanto, which includes new songs by Emmy®, GRAMMY® and Tony Award® winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, slated for theaters in November 2021. Encanto takes you to Colombia, where a magical family live in a magical home. Directed by Byron Howard and Jared Bush, co-directed and co-written by Charise Castro Smith, and music written by Miranda.
We also learned today of the first-ever WDAS-produced animated series! New titles announced today, coming to Disney+, include Baymax, Zootopia+, Tiana, and Moana, The Series, as well as Iwájú, which will be produced in collaboration with the Pan-African comic book entertainment company Kugali.
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Pixar Animation Studios
Pixar Animation Studios revealed its upcoming slate of original series for Disney+ and feature films, including:
Win or Lose, Pixar’s first-ever long-form animated series, which debuts exclusively on Disney+ in February 2023, follows a middle school softball team in the week leading up to their championship game, and each episode is told from the perspective of a different character.
Two brand-new feature films slated for theaters in 2022, Academy Award®-winning director Domee Shi’s Turning Red, and Lightyear, the definitive origin story of the hero that inspired the toy. Chris Evans will voice the hero on his journey to becoming the most famous Space Ranger ever.
In Turning Red, fans will meet Mei—she experiences the awkwardness of being a teenager, with an added twist: when she gets too excited, she transforms into a giant red panda. Turning Red comes to theaters March 11, 2022.
The original feature film Luca is slated for theaters next summer. Luca is a celebration of the friendship between a boy named Luca and his best friend Alberto during their unforgettable summer. You won’t want to miss Luca, diving into theaters June 2021.
Additional details were shared about new Disney+ series, including Inside Pixar, Pixar Popcorn, Dug Days, and Cars, as well as the upcoming feature film Soul and short Burrow—both debuting on Disney+ on December 25, 2020.
In the Up spin-off Dug Days, Dug discovers the dangers of suburbia like puppies, fireworks, and… SQUIRRELS!! Dug Days will premiere on Disney+ in Fall 2021.
Pixar is also speeding ahead with a new series following Lightning McQueen and Mater on a road trip across the country. Featuring new characters, old friends, and imaginative destinations; coming to Disney+ in Fall 2022.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to grow! Today Marvel Studios revealed details about upcoming content for both Disney+ and theaters.
The MCU’s exciting future includes three new series for Disney+: Secret Invasion, starring Samuel L. Jackson; Ironheart with Dominique Thorne as a genius inventor; and Armor Wars, starring Don Cheadle as James Rhodes aka War Machine who faces Tony Stark’s worst fears.
These, of course, are in addition to the studios’ robust lineup of Disney+ titles that includes WandaVision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and Loki; the animated series What If…?; Ms. Marvel; Hawkeye, with Hailee Steinfeld joining Jeremy Renner in the series; She-Hulk, starring Tatiana Maslany in the title role alongside co-stars Mark Ruffalo and Tim Roth; Moon Knight; Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special; and a series of original shorts, I Am Groot, featuring everyone’s favorite baby tree.
Today also brought the reveals of two feature films: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the third feature in the Ant-Man franchise; and Fantastic Four, which introduces Marvel’s most iconic family. Marvel Studios’ upcoming feature films also include Black Widow, Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings, Eternals, Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder, Black Panther 2, Blade, Captain Marvel 2, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
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ESPN and Sports Content
Calling all college football fans: Today, ESPN announced a milestone new 10-year agreement with the Southeastern Conference (SEC), expanding its partnership and adding college football’s most-watched TV package, beginning with the 2024 season. The deal will also bring select SEC football games to ESPN+, beginning with the 2021 football season and running through the term of the agreement.
ESPN+’s more than 11.5 million U.S. subscribers can also look forward to several new original series and studio shows launching in the coming months:
- Peyton’s Places, the Emmy-nominated series currently in its second season on ESPN+, will return for a third season (Fall 2021) and expand to other sports—with some of the most engaging names in sports fronting their own versions of the series, including Abby Wambach (soccer), Ronda Rousey (combat sports), David Ortiz (baseball), and Peyton’s brother, Eli Manning (college football).
- In January, ESPN+ will launch Stephen A’s World, a new, original program featuring the insights and opinions of one-of-a-kind personality Stephen A. Smith in January.
- Man in the Arena: Tom Brady, the highly anticipated nine-part documentary series coming to ESPN+, is built around Tom Brady’s never-before-seen, first-hand accounts of the journey to each of his nine Super Bowls.
- Plus, a newly reimagined version of SportsNation will return weekday mornings, beginning in January, exclusively on ESPN+.
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- further changes in domestic and global economic conditions and competitive conditions;
- health concerns;
- consumer preferences; willingness to pay for an expanding set of direct-to-consumer services; and performance of the markets in which we operate, including the pay television ecosystem;
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- poor quality broadband infrastructure in certain markets;
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each such risk includes the current and future impacts of, and is amplified by, COVID-19 and related mitigation efforts.
Such developments may further affect entertainment, travel and leisure businesses generally and may, among other things, affect (or further affect, as applicable):
- demand for our products and services;
- performance of our direct-to-consumer technology platforms;
- performance of the Company’s theatrical and original direct-to-consumer releases;
- the advertising market for entertainment programming and services;
- expenses of providing medical and pension benefits;
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- performance or operations of some or all company businesses either directly or through their impact on those who distribute our products.
Additional factors are set forth in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended October 3, 2020 under Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis,” Item 1, “Business,” and subsequent reports.