A daily newsletter guide to what is happening on your screens - TV, streaming, movies, games, VR, AR
Dan Barrett is an industry commentator & TV critic. He does radio - 4BC & ABC GC and co-hosts the Screen Watching podcast. He's a former Mediaweek deputy editor and content creator for SBS.
Every detail you need about the Disney+ launch
Always Be Watching is put together by Dan Barrett almost every damn day.
It’s been a big 24 hours for Disney. Yesterday with its investors meeting and the unveiling of its soon-to-launch streaming service Disney+. Today the title of the new Star Wars film and it’s trailer. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is released on December 20, 2019.
Here’s what we now know about Disney+:
It will cost $6.99 per month, or you can save a few bucks by subscribing annually for $69.99.
At launch, Disney+ will include: 7,500 episodes of current and off-air TV shows. 25 original series and 10 original movies and specials, 400 library movie titles, and 100 recent theatrical films.
In year 5 of Disney+, the company expects it will have 50 original series in development.
All 30 seasons of The Simpsons will be available to stream on day one of the service.
In addition to the web and mobile apps, expect to find Disney+ on Roku and PlayStation 4. It is quite likely that you will also find the service on Apple TV and other connected devices by the time it launches.
After the initial North American launch in the fourth quarter of 2019, the service will roll out to Western Europe and in Asia-Pacific regions starting in Q4 and into early 2020 and in Eastern Europe and Latin America starting at the end of 2020.
The interface will be similar to Netflix and almost every other streaming service, with rows of content grouped together. Something that is key to Disney+ (and Disney, generally), is the emphasis on its content brands. At the top of the home screen, you’ll find portals to branded content streams. Click Pixar and it’ll take you to all the Pixar content, click Marvel and you’ll just see Marvel content, etc.
A couple of questions:
How does Disney offer its wide array of content at a price significantly lower than Netflix?
It is spending less making new content each year - instead drawing from its very well-known library built over the past century.
Plus: Never forget that Netflix’s sole source of revenue is its streaming service. Disney will want to make money with the service, but the service is part of a machine that props up lucrative merchandising and theme park businesses.
Why isn’t Netflix launching where I live on day one? (*cough* Australia)
It’s very easy to flick on a switch to content that you own and make it available. It is another to untangle all of the rights deals currently in place to broadcast your content. And it’s not just streaming deals either. So, for example, in Australia Stan just licensed a number of Disney titles for its service, but there are other legacy deals in place elsewhere with output deals (think: cable companies like Foxtel) and individual titles. Not all of these licenses will necessarily have streaming exclusivity cleared.
Dan Barrett’s overall thoughts:
First of all, this is a launch announcement done right. With this event, we know what the service will be, how much it will cost, its release date and roll-out to territories across the world, and even what titles to expect at launch. Obviously, there are still a few issues to be worked out between now and launch, but this gives us a very clear idea of what to expect from it. Compare that to Apple who offered next to no detail at its TV event this month and it just shows the level of confidence and understanding of the audience/industry that Apple seem to lack.
On a personal note, I’m excited to see the 1987 Ducktales show is listed for the launch. Hopefully they follow this with some of the other late 80s run of Disney cartoons - I’d love to see The Gummi Bears, Darkwing Duck, Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers, and Tailspin streaming somewhere.
Every Simpsons ever is a major lure for me. But, I am left wondering where all of those great Touchstone Pictures movies will land - I expected to see some here on Disney+, but I presume that’s likely to head to Hulu.
“The Mandalorian”: First ever live-action Star Wars series, written and executive-produced by Jon Favreau. with . Cast includes Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Omid Abtahi, Werner Herzog and Nick Nolte. Set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order, the series follows a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic. Dave Filoni (“Star Wars: The Clone Wars”) directs the premiere episode. Available at launch
“High School Musical: The Musical: The Series”: 10-episode scripted show set at the real-life East High, where the original movie was filmed, follows a group of students as they count down to opening night of their school’s first production of “HSM,” the Disney Channel original movie from 15 years ago. Available at launch
“Diary of a Female President”: Follows a Cuban-American 12-year-old girl, as told through her diary, as she navigates the ups and downs of middle school and her journey to becoming the future president of the U.S. Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”) and Emily Gipson (“I Can and I Will”) executive produce along with Ilana Peña (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”). To be available in first year after launch
“The Falcon and The Winter Soldier”: Anthony Mackie will return as Falcon and Sebastian Stan will reprise his role as Winter Soldier in the new Marvel Studios series. To be available in first year after launch
“Loki”: Tom Hiddleston reprises his role as Loki in the new Marvel Studios series. To be available in second year after launch
Untitled Cassian Andor series: Diego Luna will reprise his role of rebel spy Cassian Andor in this Star Wars series set during the formative years of the Rebellion prior to the events of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” The spy thriller will explore tales filled with espionage and daring missions to restore hope to a galaxy in the grip of a ruthless Empire. Alan Tudyk will also reprise his role as K-2SO with Stephen Schiff (“The Americans”) as showrunner and executive producer. To be available in second year after launch
“WandaVision”: In this Marvel Studios series, Elizabeth Olsen will return as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany will reprise his role as The Vision. To be available in second year after launch
“Forky Asks a Question”: Forky, the animated utensil from Disney-Pixar’s “Toy Story 4,” is a craft project created from trash, so he has important questions about how the world works, such as: What is love? What is time? And of course, the deepest question of all, What is cheese? He explores all of these questions and more in a series of 10 shorts. Available at launch
“SparkShorts”: Pixar Animation Studios short film series designed to discover new storytellers and explore new storytelling techniques from across the studio. Available at launch
“Lamp Life”: Bo Peep, who makes a big comeback in “Toy Story 4,” stars in this animated short film, finally answering the questions about where Bo was since we last we saw her in “Toy Story 2.” To be available in first year after launch
“Monsters at Work”: Inspired by the characters of Pixar’s “Monsters, Inc.,” animated series from Disney Television Animation picks up six months after the events of “Monsters, Inc.” and follows Tylor Tuskmon, an eager and talented young mechanic who works on the Monsters Inc. facilities team but dreams of working his way up to the Laugh Floor. Returning cast members Billy Crystal, John Goodman, John Ratzenberger, Bob Peterson and Jennifer Tilly will join new cast members Ben Feldman, Kelly Marie Tran, Henry Winkler, Lucas Neff, Alanna Ubach and Stephen Stanton. To be available in second year after launch
“Encore!”: Executive producer Kristen Bell brings together former castmates of a high-school musical, tasking them with re-creating their original performance. As emotions run high, these unlikely groups of friends (with the help of Broadway’s best) just might pull off a standing-ovation-worthy performance of musicals like “The Sound of Music,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Annie.” Available at launch
Untitled Walt Disney Imagineering Documentary Series: Docu-series chronicling the 65-plus history of Walt Disney Imagineering with parallel storylines of the people, the craft, and the business. Created by director and producer Leslie Iwerks, series includes exclusive interviews and never-before-seen footage from Disney’s parks around the world. Available at launch
“Marvel’s Hero Project”: Series produced by Marvel New Media in partnership with MaggieVision Productions reveals the positive change several young heroes are making in their own communities. Marvel celebrates these young heroes as the true superheroes they are. Available at launch
“The World According to Jeff Goldblum”: Series told through the prism of Goldblum’s inquisitive and entertaining mind, with each episode centered around something we all love – like sneakers or ice cream – as he pulls the thread on these deceptively familiar objects and unravels surprising connections, science and history. Available at launch
“Star Wars: The Clone Wars”: Animated series returns with 12 episodes marking the return of classic characters Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Padmé Amidala, as well as fan-favorites Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex. To be available in first year after launch
“Marvel’s What If…?”: Marvel Studios’ first animated series, inspired by the comic books of the same name. Each episode will explore a pivotal moment from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and turn it on its head. To be available in first year after launch
“Be Our Chef”: Series hosted by Angela Kinsey (“The Office”) invites families from diverse backgrounds to join a Disney-inspired cooking competition at Walt Disney World. In each episode, two families will participate in a themed challenge based on their family traditions and the magic of Disney. The finalists will apply what they have learned to create a dish that represents their family through a Disney lens. To be available in first year after launch
“Cinema Relics: Iconic Art of the Movies” (working title): Anthology series that takes a look at beloved films through the props and costumes that made them unique – from the craftspeople who created them, the actors who interacted with them, and the collectors and archivists who own and cherish them. Hosted by film historian/collector Dan Lanigan, films featured in the first eight episodes are “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” “Mary Poppins,” “The Muppet Movie,” “Tron” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” Produced by ABC Studios, Alternative and executive produced by Jason Henry and Dan Lanigan. To be available in first year after launch
“Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2”: Walt Disney Animation Studios opens the kimono on “Frozen 2” to let cameras capture how the voice cast, directors, and team of artists came together to create one of the highly anticipated sequel to the original animated blockbuster. To be available in first year after launch
“Magic of Animal Kingdom”: At Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park and Epcot’s SeaBase aquarium, a team of more than 1,000 animal-care experts, veterinarians and biologists perform groundbreaking work. For the first time, National Geographic will offer viewers an all-access pass into the 24-7 world of the animal caretakers running one of the world’s most advanced veterinary facilities. To be available in first year after launch
“Marvel’s 616”: Anthological docu-series from Marvel New Media in partnership with Supper Club explores the intersection between Marvel’s legacy of stories, characters and creators and the world outside your window. Each episode will dive into the historical, cultural and societal context that has become inseparable from stories of the Marvel Universe. To be available in first year after launch
“(Re)Connect”: In each episode, a family will disconnect from their busy lives, devices and outside influences in order to address a relatable issue that’s driving a wedge between them. With the help of an expert, each family will embark on a unique journey to confront dilemmas head on. To be available in first year after launch
“Rogue Trip”: Journalist Bob Woodruff travels the world with his 27-year-old son Mack and visits places your average tourist is least likely to venture – the “roguish, often misunderstood and frequently overlooked corners of the world whose hidden corners surprise, amaze and inspire.” To be available in first year after launch
“Shop Class” (working title): Competition series featuring teams of students tasked with designing, building, and testing new contraptions. In each episode, a panel of experts will rate their work based on engineering, design, and the final test of the build. In the final episode one team will be named Shop Class Champs. To be available in first year after launch
“Earthkeepers” (working title): From the creators of “Chef’s Table” and the producers of “One Lucky Elephant,” this docu-series enters the adventurous lives of the people changing the way humans see the animal kingdom, focusing on conservationists and the animals they’ve devoted their careers to studying. Executive produced by Jason Sterman, Brian McGinn and David Gelb for Supper Club and Cristina Colissimo and Jordana Glick-Franzheim for Wellworth Pictures. To be available in second year after launch
“Ink & Paint”: Docu-series based on the book of the same name tells the story of animation at Disney, and how an unsung workforce of trailblazing women helped create some of the greatest animated films of all time. To be available in second year after launch
“Lady and the Tramp”: Re-telling of the 1955 Disney animated classic about a prim-and-proper house dog and a tough-but-lovable stray who embark on a series of adventures and, despite their different upbringings, grow closer and come to understand the true meaning of “home.” Starring Tessa Thompson (voice of Lady) and Justin Theroux (voice of Tramp), Kiersey Clemons (Darling), Thomas Mann (Jim Dear), Janelle Monae (voice of Peg), Yvette Nicole Brown (Aunt Sarah) and Sam Elliot (voice of Trusty). Available at launch
“Noelle”: Nick Kringle (Bill Hader) is first in line to become Santa Claus, but he struggles at every step of the way. His younger sister Noelle (Anna Kendrick) enjoys all the perks of being a Kringle without any of the expectations or responsibility. As the holiday draws near, the pressures of being Santa become all too much for Nick, who disappears just weeks before the big day. Now it’s up to Noelle to scour the globe to find him, bring him home, and save Christmas. Cast also includes Kingsley Ben-Adir, Billy Eichner, Julie Hagerty and Shirley MacLaine. To be available in first year after launch
“The Phineas and Ferb Movie” (working title): Stepbrothers Phineas and Ferb, their older sister Candace, Perry the Platypus and the Danville gang will reach a new pinnacle in the new movie, executive produced by Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh (creators and executive producers of the long-running series “Phineas and Ferb”). The movie centers on Phineas and Ferb as they set out across the galaxy to rescue Candace who has been abducted by aliens and has found utopia in a far-off planet, free of pesky little brothers. Reprising their roles are: Ashley Tisdale as Candace Flynn; Vincent Martella as Phineas Flynn; Caroline Rhea as their mom, Linda; Dee Bradley Baker as Perry the Platypus; Alyson Stoner as Isabella; Maulik Pancholy as Baljeet; Bobby Gaylor as Buford; Olivia Olson as Vanessa; Tyler Mann as Carl; and Povenmire and Marsh as Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz and Major Monogram, respectively. David Errigo Jr. joins the cast as Ferb Flynn. To be available in first year after launch
“Stargirl”: Based on the best-selling young adult novel of the same name, this teen coming-of-age story is about Leo Borlock (Graham Verchere), an average 16-year-old content to fly under the radar until an offbeat new student named Stargirl (Grace VanderWaal) shows up at his high school, turning his and everyone else’s world upside down, forever changing the way they see themselves and each other. To be available in first year after launch
“Timmy Failure”: Based on the book “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made” by Stephan Pastis, the movie tells the tells the story of Timmy, our quirky, deadpan hero, who along with his 1,500-pound polar bear partner, Total, operates Total Failure Inc., a world-class detective agency (at least in Timmy’s mind). Helmed by director Tom McCarthy with a screenplay by McCarthy & Pastis. To be available in first year after launch
“Togo”: Based on a true-life adventure in the Alaskan tundra, the story is set in 1925, when an epidemic of diphtheria breaks out in a remote Alaskan town, causing countless children to fall gravely ill. The necessary antitoxin is hundreds of miles away, across treacherous terrain with a massive storm on the horizon. As the crisis grows more desperate, the village leaders realize their only hope lies with one man – Leonhard Seppala (Willem Dafoe) and his lead sled dog, Togo. To be available in first year after launch
A Bug’s Life
A Goofy Movie
An Extremely Goofy Movie
Big Hero 6
Born in China
Fun and Fancy Free
High School Musical
Honey I Shrunk the Kids
Lady and the Tramp
Lilo & Stitch
Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Pixar Short Films Collection Vol 1
Remember the Titans
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (animated series)
The Good Dinosaur
The Little Mermaid
The Parent Trap (1961)
The Prince & The Pauper (1990)
The Princess Diaries
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (short)
The Sword in the Stone
The Three Caballeros
Thor: The Dark World
Andi Mack (seasons one-three)
Boy Meets World
Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan
Dr. K’s Exotic Animals
Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet
Drain the Ocean
DuckTales (2016, season one)
Howie Mandel’s Animals Doing Things
Malcolm in the Middle
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (animated series)
Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man (animated series)
Mickey and the Roadster Racers (seasons one and two)
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Mickey Mouse Shorts
One Strange Rock
Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue
Star Wars Rebels
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (series)
That’s So Raven
The Incredible Dr. Pol
Unlikely Animal Friends
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