Mickey Mouse vs. Netflix: Everything we know about the Disney streaming service
If you’re a film fan, TV lover, and avid binge watcher, you’ll already know what some major companies are still failing to acknowledge: Streaming is the future. Companies like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Shudder, and Fandor continue to grab the attention (and the money) of audiences eager for more choice and variety when it comes to their viewing options. As such, it’s a time of exciting change in which our viewing habits and demands are beginning to dictate the shape and direction of the market. One such company making major strides forward in order to finally cater for a changing industry is Disney. As you’ve likely already heard, the colossal, all-consuming conglomerate is in the middle of developing a streaming service that could rival the current streaming giants. Could it even take down Netflix? Quite possibly. Here’s everything we know about Disney’s upcoming streaming service and why it’s such a big deal.
It’ll be a one-stop streaming destination for some of the biggest movies ever made
Taking cue from The Atlantic, we’re going to go right ahead and call this currently unnamed streaming product Disneyflix, because come on. The proposed service is one of the first to sound like it could be a worthy adversary to Netflix – the market dominator that currently has a number of Disney-owned properties available to stream. However, Disney is set to withdraw its content from Netflix by 2019 (around the same time as Disneyflix is set to launch), which could convince audiences to jump ship from one service to the other.
When you consider Disneyflix will exclusively feature every film from the Star Wars franchise, the extensive (and extremely lucrative) Marvel Entertainment back catalogue, the gigantic selection of family-friendly movies, shorts, and shows from Pixar Animation Studios, and the Disney Animation universes, the service already has a tantalizing corner of the market secured. And that’s before you even consider the potential original content they’ll also have on offer.
Some original programming has already been announced
With a first year goal set to generate four to five original movies and five TV shows for the streaming site, Disneyflix sounds like it’ll be building itself up slowly with fresh content. Movies reportedly being primed for the streaming service include a live-action reboot of Lady and the Tramp, Don Quixote, Julia Hart’s Stargirl, Ericson Core’s Togo, Mark Waters’s Magic Camp, and the Marc Lawrence directed fantasy adventure movie Noelle starring Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), Bill Hader (The Skeleton Twins), and Billy Eichner (American Horror Story).
Other projects rumored for Disneyflix development include a remake of Three Men and a Baby, a live-action remake of The Sword in the Stone, a potential new show featuring The Muppets, and an adaptation of Stephan Pastis’s children’s book series Timmy Failure (which reportedly has Tom McCarthy involved). Currently confirmed for the service is a TV reboot of High School Musical, an animated Monsters, Inc. show, a Marvel live-action show, a Star Wars series, and a gender-swapped reboot of the 2000 movie High Fidelity, which star John Cusack had a less than enthusiastic opinion about: “They’ll fuck it up.”
The service could be enormous if Disney fully acquires 20th Century Fox
It’s worth noting at this stage that the (apparently reboot and remake heavy slate) won’t be featuring any R-rated content and – staying consistent with the Disney brand – will remain family friendly. However, now that Disney is a shareholder of Hulu, fans of some of the very few R-rated Disney-owned properties (presumably Marvel movies like Deadpool and Logan) will be able to catch the content there instead.
Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed in December, “There’s a lot of Fox intellectual property that fits extremely well into Disney-branded direct-to-consumer services. There’s a lot of product that we believe will be of great use to growing Hulu as it already is. Hulu is a more adult-oriented product (that will benefit from) Fox television production and FX.” Disney is still awaiting approval of the $52 billion deal from the Justice Department. If the deal comes through, the company’s library will open up to an extensive range of hot properties.
As well as giving Disney access to people-pleasers like The Simpsons and Modern Family, the deal could also give the company possession of the 20th Century Fox film studio and Fox Searchlight, meaning its library would have access to an impressive volume of movies including Oscar winners like The Shape of Water, Birdman, and 12 Years a Slave, and franchises like the seemingly never-ending series of X-Men films.
It seems possible to co-exist alongside Netflix
Though Disneyflix certainly sounds tantalizing at present, it’s arguably aiming for a far more niche market than Netflix does, by committing specifically to providing family-friendly content and leaving its R-rated acquisitions for Hulu. We hate to say it at such an early stage, but Disney’s original content slate hardly sounds exceptional enough to pull Netflix devotees away from a service that already offers a glut of originals worth watching (and aren’t just a seemingly bottomless pit of reboots and remakes).
So perhaps it’s unlikely that Disney will dethrone Netflix with its own streaming service. However, it could challenge the market to stepup and deliver bigger and better content for audiences in order to keep up with the competition. Frankly, it’s a win-win, especially if you have kids. As every parent knows, you can’t put a price on peace and quiet and that seems to be exactly what the streaming service could offer with its never-ending supply of beloved, kid-friendly content. But for the rest of us? It could take a great deal more than just classic movies, reboots, and family-friendly flicks to draw us into the mouth of the Mouse.