I’ve said it more times than I can count, but I’ll say it again: the landscape of film is changing. I mean, it’s already changed in an amazing way. Not five years ago, if you wanted a film worth watching, chances are it ended up in theaters in one way or another, even if it was just a limited release. Few would dream of actually taking direct to DVD films seriously. Nowadays, a good amount of original film content out there is released outside of standard theaters.
And next year, things will change even more when Disney opens the doors of their new streaming service Disney+. Now, all those mid-budget films will no longer need to head to theaters to get an audience. Instead, from the sound of it, those live-action films will head straight to the service, which is a great use of their resources. When asked how many films Disney live-action would make for the service, here is what Sean Bailey, who oversees Disney live-action movies, here’s what he said:
The ambition is in the four-to-five range for our group. With the streaming service, we can make a bigger range of movies. We’ve made films — Queen of Katwe; McFarland, USA; Million Dollar Arm — where the filmmakers did a wonderful job but [the films] didn’t make money. We were all disappointed. We just couldn’t make them work. The fact that we have a new place where we think the audience will be very satisfied is really exciting for us.
Audiences are becoming much pickier about what they see in theaters. For years, the trend has seen more big-budget blockbusters hit each year, making it harder to justify spending $10 to see something character-driven like Queen of Katwe in theaters. Many of us have already opted to wait on films like that for Redbox or streaming service to save our hard-earned bucks, so it’s a good strategy. But will movies that low-key really deliver on the Disney brand?
Additionally, it’s not clear whether or not Disney+ will get any big budget exclusives. Next year, Netflix is planning on having some films with over $100 million in their budget. Would Disney plan on doing that on their own service? It could be a way for them to really drive sales, but then there is also the fear of cannibalizing their own theatrical releases.
Are you happy to see the mid-budget movies head to Disney+? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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