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More Star Wars, Marvel spinoffs to Disney+, but no ‘Black Widow’

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Disney says it nonetheless sees worth in theatrical releases, so there is no indication the delayed ‘Black Widow’ will skip the theaters.

NEW YORK — The Walt Disney Co.’s streaming plans shifted into hyper pace Thursday with the disclosing of a galaxy’s price of latest streaming choices, together with plans for 10 “Star Wars” sequence spinoffs and 10 Marvel sequence that may debut on Disney+.

In a digital presentation for traders, Disney chief govt Bob Chapek laid out super-sized ambitions for it direct-to-consumer efforts, leaning closely on a number of the firm’s largest manufacturers. Over the following few years, Disney is planning to premiere instantly on Disney+ not simply an armada of “Star Wars” and Marvel sequence however 15 live-action, Pixar and animated sequence, and 15 live-action, Pixar and animated films.

Chapek stated Disney+ subscribers worldwide have reached 86.eight million, up from 74 million final month. The service has simply exceeded most forecasts, reaching that quantity 13 months since its launch in November 2019. Disney will enhance the month-to-month worth by $1 to $eight a month in March. The corporate forecasts 230-260 million subscribers by 2024.

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To maintain subscriber numbers climbing, Disney introduced a blizzard of remakes, sequels and spinoffs of varied sizes and shapes on Thursday, together with a “Magnificence and the Beast” prequel sequence, a “Moana” animated sequence, a “Three Males and a Child” reboot with Zac Efron, a “Swiss Household Robinson” sequence and, sure, even the Kardashians.

However Disney additionally stored its largest movies — together with Marvel’s “Black Widow,” Pixar’s “Luca,” a “Lion King” prequel — on the right track for theatrical launch. Whereas WarnerMedia final week pushed its total 2021 slate to streaming, Disney executives signaled that theatrical launch stays an necessary element of its big-budget spectacles.

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Nonetheless, the four-hour presentation introduced a extra seamless imaginative and prescient of content material throughout platforms that made scant point out of its closed theme parks, or of the pandemic. That included a dizzying quantity of sequence, a lot of them linked to big-screen films previous and current. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige stated a pair of latest Marvel sequence — “Secret Invasion,” with Samuel Jackson, and “Ironheart” — will “tie on to Marvel future movies.” The one distinction between the corporate’s short-form TV content material and its theatrical content material, stated Bob Iger, govt chairman, “is size.”

Not all of the information was in streaming. Lucasfilm introduced that Patty Jenkins (“Marvel Lady”) will direct the following “Star Wars” theatrical movie, “Rogue Squadron,” with a launch in theaters deliberate for Christmas 2023.

Jenkins turns into the primary lady to direct a “Star Wars” movie. In a video, she stated the movie, about starship fighters, will fulfill a long-held dream of hers because the daughter of an Air Power captain.

“When he misplaced his life in service of this nation, it ignited a need in me to show all of that tragedy and thrill into in the future making the best fighter pilot film of all time,” stated Jenkins in a video message.

Different movies are going forward with theatrical plans, amongst them a Buzz Lightyear prequel, due in 2020, and the “Black Panther” sequel. Feige confirmed that the position of the late Chadwick Boseman won’t be recast however that its makers are nonetheless occupied with “exploring the world of Wakanda” in Ryan Coogler’s movie, due in theaters July 2022.

Among the many “Star Wars” sequence are two spinoffs of “The Mandalorian,” set throughout the sequence’ timeline: “Rangers of the New Republic” and “Ahsoka,” with Rosario Dawson. Taking pictures additionally not too long ago started on “Andor,” a sequence developed by Tony Gilroy (“Bourne Identification”), with Diego Luna’s character from the 2016 movie “Rogue One.”

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Different, much less anticipated “Star Wars” stars are returning. Hayden Christensen, who performed Anakin Skywalker within the prequels, will reprise his position as Darth Vader in “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” with Ewan McGregor.

“We’ve an unlimited and expansive timeline within the ‘Star Wars’ mythology, spanning over 25,000 years of historical past within the galaxy with every period being a wealthy useful resource for storytelling,” stated Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “Now with Disney+ we are able to discover limitless story potentialities like by no means earlier than and fulfill the promise that there’s really a ‘Star Wars’ story for everybody.”

Disney steered a number of upcoming films to its streaming service, together with “Pinocchio,” with Tom Hanks, “Peter Pan & Wendy” and an “Enchanted” sequel with Amy Adams titled “Disenchanted.” The animated “Raya and the Final Dragon” will in March debut concurrently in theaters and by premier entry on Disney+. That is the identical strategy the corporate took earlier this fall for “Mulan,” with a $30 early-access charge on prime of the month-to-month subscription.

Disney made different changes to reorient its movie operations round streaming. Hulu, which this yr debuted the Andy Samberg comedy “Palm Springs” and Sarah Paulson thriller “Run,” shall be house to extra unique movies from 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Footage. Hulu may also be the brand new house of the Kardashians, not too long ago departed from E!. The streaming service additionally renewed “The Handmaid’s Story” for a fifth season.

FX is growing the primary sequence based mostly on the “Alien” movies, with Noah Hawley (“Fargo”) directing. The community additionally renewed “It is At all times Sunny in Philadelphia” for 4 extra seasons, to take it to 18 seasons.

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Many in Hollywood had eagerly awaited Disney’s response following WarnerMedia’s announcement final week that it’ll launch all 17 of its 2021 movies — from “Dune” to “The Matrix 4″ — concurrently on its streaming platform, HBO Max, and in theaters.

That transfer set off shockwaves prompting a backlash from a lot of the movie trade, together with theater chains, producing companions and a number of the studio’s prime expertise. Christopher Nolan criticized the plans as “a little bit of a multitude.” Some stated the long-forecast finish instances for cinemas had arrived. Others questioned the economics of considered one of Hollywood’s prime studios sacrificing a yr of field workplace — and the cascading home windows of launch that comply with a theatrical run — to salvage the rocky rollout of HBO Max — a service that many HBO subscribers have but nonetheless have not activated.

Wall Road accredited. Shares for WarnerMedia’s father or mother firm AT&T are up about 6% for the reason that announcement by Jason Kilar, chief govt of WarnerMedia and a veteran of Hulu and Amazon. John Stankey, the AT&T chief govt, on Tuesday stated the pandemic had unleased a brand new media actuality unlikely to fade after COVID-19. “That horse left the barn,” he stated.

In comparison with WarnerMedia, the current state of affairs could be very totally different for Disney, which has already laid the inspiration for a formidable Netflix competitor in Disney+ and which has for years dominated the field workplace. The corporate’s movies accounted for greater than $13 billion in ticket gross sales worldwide final yr and 38% of moviegoing within the U.S. and Canada. Seven Disney movies topped $1 billion worldwide.

As Disney made its presentation to traders Thursday, its shares reached an all-time excessive of $160.

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