Disney's strategy to focus on building out its streaming service, Disney+, was on full display Thursday during the company's annual investor day.
Disney unveiled a roster of over 50 news movies and shows that will launch on the platform, delivering content from major franchises like "Star Wars" and Marvel. Disney+ now has 86.8 million subscribers, up from 73 million at the end of its fiscal fourth quarter. It expects to have between 230 million and 260 million subscribers by 2024.
The increased focus on streaming is part of the company's new strategy and comes as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to cast uncertainty on theatrical release schedules and theater reopenings in much of the U.S. During the investor day presentation, Disney's stock hit an all-time high.
Disney revealed that several new films will debut exclusively on Disney+, including live-action versions of “Pinocchio," “Peter Pan and Wendy” and “Disenchanted,” a sequel to the film “Enchanted." It also announced that over the next few years it will release 10 Marvel series, 10 "Star Wars" series, 15 new Disney live action, Disney Animation and Pixar series and 15 new Disney live action, Disney Animation and Pixar features directly to Disney+.
Disney also gave updates on its other streaming platforms, Hulu and ESPN+. Several new original movies and limited series will be produced exclusively for Hulu, where the Kardashians will be creating new content beginning late next year. Disney will provide more sports betting content on ESPN+ and will bring Southeastern Conference games to the app beginning in 2024.
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As part of a new strategy, Disney announced that it will be releasing select new films on its streaming platform and in theaters on the same day, including “Raya and the Last Dragon." This dual-release is something it tested out with "Mulan," which hit Disney+ and select international markets on the same day in September.
It also follows the major news last week that Warner Bros. will simultaneously release all of its 2021 movies on HBO Max and in theaters, a move that deviates from the typical studio process, in which films are released in theaters first, and then hit other platforms months later.
However, in a sign that Disney is still committed to theatrical releases, it announced plans for "Jungle Cruise" to hit theaters in July 2021, the final Indiana Jones film to come out in 2022 and a new Star Wars movie, "Rogue Squadron," to come out in 2023.