DISNEY INVESTOR DAY REVIEW
Updated: Feb 25
WEEKLY FILM INDUSTRY NEWS DIGEST, UPDATED MONDAY DECEMBER 14
Disney Investor Day Review: It’s All About Streaming, ‘Star Wars’ & Marvel, Stupid…Disney is almost all about streaming less than a year after Disney+ launched with The Mandalorian as its marquee offering. Rocketing to more than 86 million subscribers, as was unveiled today by CEO Bob Chapek, the service itself will be full of much more Star Wars, much more Marvel and more movies as the coronavirus pandemic looks to shutter cinemas deep into 2021.
…with Mandalorian pulling in many of those millions of Disney+ subs and upcoming Marvel shows like WandaVision, Loki and The Falcon and the Winter Solider set to add to the bottom line, something for everyone is exactly the point the company was determined to make today. Add a pandemic-expanded feature slate for the streamer, and a balancing act for many tentpoles between going online and showing up in theaters, and the biggest player in Hollywood made it pretty clear how they plan to own the board.
With approximately $8-9 billion to be spent on Disney+ content alone in fiscal 2024, you know that means a lot more Stars Wars and Marvel is still to come. Honestly, with more than 100 titles coming to Disney+ in the next year, would you bet against them?
Disney Investor Day Summary
1. Disney+ continues its march: The streamer’s subscriber base hit 86.8M globally, which was up 18% on 73.7M on October 3 — the last time Disney offered guidance. Inevitable price hikes are now coming.
2. Doubling down on TV: Disney said it would launch “roughly” 10 Marvel series and 10 Star Wars series over the next few years. Series in the works include Don Cheadle returning as James Rhodes, aka War Machine, in Armor Wars, while Dominique Thorne becomes the first Black female lead of a Marvel series in Iron Heart. Over in the Star Wars universe, future series include a Lando Calrissian spin-off and an R2D2 and C3PO animated show.
3. Big-spending: All of this doesn’t come cheap, as you might imagine. Disney said it will be splurging up to $16B on content for its online platforms by 2024.
4. Films head to Disney+: Enchanted sequel Disenchanted and Sister Act 3 are among the new features joining the stream team.
5. Hulu update: Disney’s other streamer has snapped up the Kardashians on an exclusive deal, while Hulu also confirmed that The Handmaid’s Tale will return for a fifth season.
6. Star goes global: Another Disney streamer, Star, will launch as a branded tile on Disney+ in Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and Singapore on February 23, 2021. It will essentially be a global Hulu.
Disney To Launch 20 Marvel & ‘Star Wars’ TV Series Over The Next Few Years
Raya And The Last Dragon’ Going on Disney+ Premiere Access & Theaters In March
Disney Investor Day Postmortem
Even though a combined 100 movie and TV series titles were announced today during Disney Investor Day, with 80% of them going to Disney+, let it be noted that the Burbank, CA studio didn’t burn down its 2021 theatrical release schedule…
Disney CEO Bob Chapek didn’t completely turn his back on the big screen. “We had a $13 billion box office last year, and that’s not something to sneeze at. We built those franchises through the theatrical window,” said Chapek about the grease which has propelled the Disney+ conveyor belt. “It’s about balance and following the consumer as they make that transition,” he continued, “We need to be flexible to read all the cues, whether it’s COVID or changing consumer behavior so we can nimbly make decisions.”
Robert Zemeckis’ Pinocchio, with Tom Hanks, and Peter Pan and Wendy are going to Disney+.
Disney passed 137 million subscribers on their direct-to-consumer services and has a goal of hitting 300M-350M subs by fiscal 2024. They’ll spend $8 billion to $9 billion on Disney+ content in order to get there, with a $14B-$16B WW direct to combined consumer spend for Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus during 2024.
Disney Will Spend $14B-$16B A Year On Streaming Content By 2024; Says Disney+ Could Hit 260M Subs That Year
CEO Bob Chapek noted that Disney’s various brands unspooled 63 series and 42 films at today’s event alone, more than 80% of them heading to DTC.
McCarthly anticipated Disney+ and its international iterations will hit between 230-260 million total paid subscribers by that year. The service will reach its peak year of losses in fiscal 2021 and hit profitability in 2024. McCarthy expects Hulu will have 50-60 million subs by the end of 2024, including its Hulu Plus Live TV service. It will hit profitability in fiscal 2023. Disney’s fiscal year ends in September. And ESPN+ will garner 20-30 million subscribers by the ennd of 2024, she predicted, and reach profitability the year before, in 2023.
All that means Disney should end 2024 with a total of 300-350 million total DTC subscribers compared with the total 137 million it logged as of Dec. 2.
Disney Raising Price Of Disney+ By A Dollar A Month Starting In March 2021
Disney plans to raise the monthly price of Disney+ to $7.99 a month from $6.99 next March as it ramps up its content offerings substantially.
In continental Europe, the service will also go up €2 a month to €8.
Disney To Launch General Entertainment Streaming Service Star Globally In February
The service will launch as a branded tile on its Disney+ platform in Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and Singapore on February 23, 2021. The company will increase the price of the Disney+ service to reflect this, to €8.99 in continental Europe and with a “similar adjustment” in other markets.
Star will be a more adult-orientated service featuring content from the company’s ABC, FX, Freeform, Searchlight, and 20th Century Studios brands. It will essentially be a similar service to Hulu, which Disney CEO Bob Chapek has recently said has “no brand awareness” outside of the U.S. One difference, however, is that it will not include aggregated third-party content ala Hulu and will instead focus on shows that Disney owns, as well as those that do not fall into other licensing arrangements globally.
It follows the launch of Disney+ Hotstar, which was launched in India in April and in Indonesia in September. That service was built on Hotstar, the streaming service operated by Star India that Disney inherited when it acquired 20th Century Fox.
Disney Stock Explodes To New High, Rising 14% After Investor Day Bonanza
Disney shares exploded Friday, rising almost 14% to finish at $175.72. Trading volume was about nine times its normal level. The investor euphoria follows the company’s long-anticipated investor day. The Thursday afternoon event stretched into the evening, featuring four hours of plugs for 100 new film and TV titles coming to Disney+ as well as projections for 230 million to 260 million Disney+ subscribers by 2024.
Disney Updates Theatrical Release Schedule After Investor Day
The 2022 Marvel slate is moving deeper into the calendar, i.e. Marvel’s Black Panther moving from May 6, 2022 to July 8, 2022. It’s the only wide release on that date.
Disney is trying to stay committed to a theatrical release plan as long as the pandemic doesn’t get in the studio’s way. This despite the fact that they plan to pour as much as $16 billion into streaming by 2024.
AMC Entertainment Raises $100M But Warns Cash May Be Gone In January, Slams Warner Bros.
Struggling AMC Entertainment said it risks running out funds in January…it said it needs $750 million “to remain viable” through 2021. Even if it raises that, it still risks bankruptcy next year if moviegoing doesn’t pick up — and Warner Bros. may have made that harder to accomplish.
“We cannot predict what supply of movie titles will be available for theatrical exhibition once moviegoers are prepared to return in large numbers. Nor can we know with certainty the impact of the Warner Bros. announcement or any similar announcements regarding the release of movie titles concurrently to the home video or streaming markets, as those arrangements will be subject to negotiations that have not yet taken place.”
Endeavor’s Patrick Whitesell On WarnerMedia: ‘Blatant Attempt To Self-Deal And Use Our Clients Work To Build Their HBO Max Streaming Service’
Talent agency Endeavor Executive Chairman Patrick Whitesell:
Warner Bros. announced a strategy across an entire slate of 2021 movies without consulting with their partners (our clients), not only disregarding our clients’ feelings about the strategy but in many cases constituting a contractual violation. This is a blatant attempt to self-deal and use our clients work to build their HBO Max streaming service, which our clients have no financial interest in.
The simultaneous release on HBO Max will cannibalize the domestic box office and torpedo the traditional waterfall of economics that make movies profitable in the near and long-term for the studio and for our clients.
Lastly, we take seriously the notion that moving our clients’ work to the HBO Max platform is effectively a free advertisement for HBO Max and we expect and will negotiate that consideration for our clients.
Directors Guild of America Tells WarnerMedia That Deal To Release 2021 Warner Bros Movie Slate On HBO Max Is “Unacceptable”
… “unacceptable” and “is contrary to both the long-standing relationship between the DGA and Warner Bros. and explicit representations made by senior executives to the DGA on this very issue…We intend to take appropriate actions to protect the rights and interests of our members and request an immediate meeting to discuss this matter.”
‘Demon Slayer’ Overtaking ‘Tenet’ As No. 2 Movie Overseas In 2020
The international box office continues to provide welcome surprises during the pandemic era. Where movie theaters are open and people feel safe, they turn up for new or enduringly exciting product that’s on offer.
Japan’s Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train…is days away from becoming the top-grossing film of all time in Japan, overtaking Hayao Miyazaki’s 2010 Spirited Away. Think about that for a minute: It has taken 19 years to reach this level, and was done so during a pandemic.
Elsewhere, there was good news from China…DreamWorks Animation/Universal’s The Croods: A New Age had a great -45% hold. The cume after three weeks is $46M, overtaking Mulan to become the 2nd biggest imported title of 2020.