Remakes of “Peter Pan” and “Pinocchio” will be Disney+ exclusives, bypassing theaters entirely. That’s a trend that’s likely to continue.
The reboot formula hasn’t always been a box-office success, but Disney is betting the nostalgia for some of its most beloved (or reviled) heroes and villains will attract new subscribers to the platform. Releasing some of these films, often with an additional fee, directly to Disney+ — now the most essential part of the House of Mouse — helps both maintain and grow subscriptions.
As for “Cruella,” that film too is just another example of Disney+ filling its content coffers, even though viewers have the option of seeing it in theaters.
It’s a strategy that Disney has used before.
While it could be argued that some of Disney’s other big brands like Star Wars and Marvel are better for the big screen than the small one, Disney’s live-action reboots can go either way. Some are huge hits, and some are misses.
But as weird as it might sound, the brand’s uneven track record is precisely what makes it a great fit for Disney’s potential release strategy going forward.
It’s really about flexibility
Disney’s live-action brand has unquestionably had some big hits.
For example, 2019’s “The Lion King” made $1.6 billion, and 2017’s “Beauty and the Beast” made $1.2 billion. Others like “The Jungle Book” and “Aladdin” have also been blockbusters.
Yet in the streaming world, those numbers don’t really matter.
“It’s going to be dependent on what our slate of titles are and whether we think that we need to put something on the service for those particular guests, or whether this is something that we could use as another data point in our exploration of Premier Access,” he said.
Chapek added that it’s really about “flexibility.”
“We’re going to steer our decision-making over time,” he added. “given what information that we get from our guests and our subscriber base on what they prefer.”