The Walt Disney Company's 2020 Investor Day wasn't short of announcements – and many of them will undoubtedly put smiles on the faces of Disney+ subscribers. Why? Because they can soon expect double the content catalogue, plus plenty of brand-new Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar series over the coming years.
The only one that might not, however, is a price hike for the Disney+ subscription service. From March 2021, the monthly cost of Disney+ will be £7.99 (up from £5.99), $7.99 (up from $6.99), AU$11.99 (up from AU$8.99), and €8.99 (up from €6.99). In the US, the Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus bundle will also get a $1 increase to $13.99 per month.
That narrows the gap between Disney+ and Netflix subscriptions, which cost from £5.99, $8.99, AU$10.99 and €7.99 per month for the most basic tier. It's still considerably less than Netflix's premium, 4K-inclusive offering (£13.99, $13.99,AU$19.99, €15.99), mind.
Still, with a price increase comes a huge catalogue increase. Over the "next few years," Disney plans to release "approximately" 10 Star Wars series, 10 Marvel series and 15 Disney live action, Disney Animation, and Pixar series on the service, as well as 15 Disney live action, Disney Animation, and Pixar features.
These include Rangers of the New Republic (a new live-action series from executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, set within the timeline of The Mandalorian); Obi-Wan Kenobi (a special event series that sees Ewan McGregor return in the iconic role of the Jedi Master and Hayden Christensen returning as Darth Vader); the Samuel L. Jackson-starrer Secret Invasion from Marvel Studios; Hocus Pocus 2 (an undoubtedly spooky sequel to the 1993 Halloween cult classic); the Diary of a Wimpy Kid live-action film franchise adapted from the popular books; a live-action prequel to The Lion King; and Lightyear (a sci-fi action-adventure telling the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear, slated to open in theaters in June 2022).
Then there's a – drum roll – new Star Wars feature in development with Taika Waititi, and Rogue Squadron, the next Star Wars feature film to hit the big screen, directed by Patty Jenkins and due for release over Christmas 2023. "The story will introduce a new generation of starfighter pilots as they earn their wings and risk their lives in a boundary-pushing, high-speed thrill-ride, and move the saga into the future era of the galaxy."
Teasers on all of Disney's upcoming features and projects can be found here (opens in new tab).
Disney also plans to continue its premium content offering too, which is set to premiere either in theatres or via the Disney Plus Premier Access (opens in new tab) service before coming to the streaming service. In September, Disney's Mulan live-action adaptation of Disney's 1998 animated feature film was the first pay-per-view film offered through Premier Access, costing £19.99 ($29.99, AU$34.99). On 5th March 2021, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Raya and the Last Dragon will be released on Premier Access "in most Disney+ markets, at the same time as it is released in theaters", also priced $29.99 (and probably £19.99, AU$34.99).
Last but by no means least, Disney also shared details for a new international content brand, 'Star', which will become part and parcel of Disney+ in Europe and "other international markets" on 23rd February 2021 and will double the content catalogue available to Disney+ subscribers. The brand will offer "thousands of hours of television and movies" from Disney’s creative studios, including Disney Television Studios, FX, 20th Century Studios and 20th Television.