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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.
Mulan goes straight to Disney+... at a price
ALSO: Disney+ beats subscriber expectations. AND: A new host for Ellen?
Disney is on the cusp of meeting its five-year target for Disney+ just nine months after it debuted. The company had told investors it expected to reach between 60-90 million subscribers by 2024. It now has 57.5 million subscribers.
One assumes that these are paid Disney+ subscribers with Disney cancelling all promotional accounts back in June.
Sister services Hulu and ESPN have 35.5 and 8.5 million subscribers, respectively.
For a point of comparison, the market leader continues to be Netflix with its 193 million subscribers across the globe. That said, comparing Disney+, Hulu, and most streaming products to Netflix is a bit apples and oranges. Netflix is available in far more countries across the globe.
The live-action Mulan, budgeted at $200 million, is going straight to Disney+. At a price.
It won’t be made available along with the rest of the Disney+ catalogue, but rather Disney+ subscribers can pay an additional $29.99 to stream it at home. The film will play in cinemas in countries where Disney+ isn’t available.
Three questions I have:
Presumably that’s US$29.99 - what will the company charge in foreign territories like Australia?
Will the film also open in cinemas in countries that have both Disney+ and open cinemas? I know i’d like to see the movie, but not for thirty bucks.
What is the rental period? Disney+ have a family audience which means a lot of kids are used to watching movies and TV shows over and over again on Disney+. To date Disney+ has been very smart about enabling offline downloads without expiration dates on licences and other similar features which helps parents with kids who like to re-watch their favourite movies. Would a short Mulan rental window result in a lot of pain for Disney+ subscribing parents?
CEO Bob Chapek has been vocal that this doesn’t represent a new status quo for the company’s distribution channels and that theatrical release is still vital:
“We’re looking at ‘Mulan’ as a one-off as opposed to say there’s some new business windowing model that we’re looking at,” Chapek said Tuesday on the company’s earnings call.
But Disney will be paying attention to this release and the money it brings in. Consider this:
Box office takings in the US are split roughly 50/50 between the studios and cinemas.
Selling/renting movies through platforms operated by Apple, Google, etc means Disney are giving them a cut of each transaction.
Renting via Disney+ means 100% of that $29.99 flows back to Disney.
If 10% of Disney+ subscribers rent the movie for $29.99, that is close to $150 million from rentals alone. They may not make back the budget on this, but rest assured, Disney will be paying attention to the revenue stream possibilities that this can provide.
Longtime Simpsons voice actor Harry Shearer has spoken out against the idea that an actor should only play someone of their own ethnicity. He see’s a very distinct line between his role as a performer and representation.
“People from all backgrounds should be represented in the writing and producing ends of the business so they help decide what stories to tell and with what knowledge,” he said, adding about the acting side, “The job is playing someone I’m not.”
Shearer voices a number of characters in the show from a range of ethnicities and cultural backgrounds: Mr. Burns, Dr. Hibbert, Principal Skinner, Reverend Lovejoy, Ned Flanders, and (the once-black) Waylon Smithers.
The drum beat of support to see Ellen off the air continues, getting support from the unlikeliest of places - today, it’s the Eric Andre fandom who are calling for the stand-up comedian to take over the show while retaining its name.
Andre is fully supportive of the petition, tweeting his support.
Ratched, the quasi-prequel to One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, debuts Sept 18 on Netflix.
The Boys season 2 debuts on Amazon Prime Video with the first batch of (three) episodes on Sept 4. New episodes drop weekly after that.
The first of the Power spin-offs has a trailer. Power Book II: Ghost debuts Sept 6.
(Is the franchise now called Power Book? It’s clunky. Shouldn’t it be Power (Book II): Ghost? Or Power - Book II: Ghost).
Giovanni Cianci, the music producer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, has been fired following a sexual misconduct accusation from 2010 - several years prior to his work on the show. Source: Variety
Reni Santoni, known for playing Poppie in Seinfeld, died at age 81. Source: Deadline
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