As the world of “television” continues to evolve and the industry awaits Apple’s entrance into the field with bated breath, Disney is also quietly firming up plans for its highly anticipated streaming service. The Mouse House began making plans for its own streaming service a couple of years ago, but with it expected to launch in Fall 2019, Disney is starting to put into production the content that will first be available when it’s released—and details about the films and TV shows we can expect are starting to surface.
Per Deadline, Disney has begun meetings in the creative community about the new Disney streaming service, from which we can gauge kind of what they’re planning. No price point just yet, but the big news—which isn’t super surprising—is that the streaming service will not include any R-rated movies when it launches. R-rated content will go on Hulu, which has a deal with 20th Century Fox—which Disney is in the process of buying. Speaking of which, there has been no mention of how Fox content will fit into the new service, since that deal is far from done and there are a lot of details that still have to be worked out.
The Disney streaming service will launch in Fall 2019, first with a domestic-only service and then expanding overseas after that. The content on the streaming service will be consistent with the Disney brand, but right now the plan is to leave the various Marvel series on Netflix for the time-being. That doesn’t meant the Marvel Netflix shows won’t eventually be available on the Disney streaming service, but those grittier and more violent series will continue to be developed and launched at Netflix for now.
Within the first year, Disney hopes to launch four or five original movies and five TV series. The TV shows will cost between $25 million and $25 million for 10-episode seasons, but there exists the possibility that one or two really big shows might have a cap of $100 million for a 10-episode season—which would allow them to compete with the scale of shows like Game of Thrones or Westworld.
Disney is actually already holding back content for the streaming service. They removed the Mark Waters-directed comedy Magic Camp from the release schedule last year and that’s being earmarked to debut on the streaming service, as is the Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader-fronted Christmas comedy Noelle, which just wrapped production.
Other priority movie projects include a new Lady and the Tramp, Don Quixote written by Billy Ray (Captain Phillips), The Paper Magician, Stargirl, and Togo. Deadline also reports that the live-action Sword in the Stone movie would also be made for the streaming service, which explains why Ridley Scott is in talks to direct a live-action Merlin movie for Disney as well—one goes on the streaming service, one goes to theaters. There’s also a 3 Men and a Baby reboot and a Tom McCarthy-directed film called Timmy Failure in development to potentially debut on the streaming service.
The big question here is, what kind of quality is Disney looking for for this streaming service? Are we getting Disney Channel Original Movie-level films here, or will we get stuff on the level of Pete’s Dragon or Saving Mr. Banks? Judging by the completed projects like Magic Camp and Noelle it feels like the latter, albeit maybe a little more skewed towards younger audiences.