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Disney blasts into streaming zone with Disney+ revelations

Lady and the Tramp, Jon Favreau, Matt Cornett and Jeff Goldblum will all appear in shows and movies on Disney+. Images: The Walt Disney Company

What do you get when you take Ewan McGregor, Lizzie McGuire, two movies featuring adorable dogs, three new Marvel superhero series and Jeff Goldblum doing a series on… Jeff Goldblum?

A streaming platform that delivers for the fans, and one that could make Netflix very uncomfortable.

The Walt Disney Company Saturday morning AEST announced its slate of original feature films, live action and cartoon series and selection of shorts that will exclusively air on its soon-to-launch Disney+ streaming service.

The platform will launch in Australia on 19 November - a week after it launches in the US on 12 November, priced at $8.99 a month, undercutting Netflix’s $9.99 a month fee.

What will be on Disney+?

Dozens of stars gathered on stage at the Disney fan conference, D23, in Anaheim California to announce the raft of projects headed to Disney+.

However, the chairman of direct-to-consumer and international products, Kevin Mayer, said the priority of Disney+ will be on the quality of content - rather than the quantity.

“Do a few things, and do them well,” he said.

Here’s a round-up of what was announced at D23 that will appear on Disney+:

From Lucasfilm

Actor Ewan McGregor confirmed today that he will be starring in an untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi series, while Pedro Pascal will star in The Mandalorian series.

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: Executive producer/writer Jon Favreau of 'The Mandalorian' took part today in the Disney+ Showcase at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2019 in Anaheim, Calif. 'The Mandalorian' will stream exclusively on Disney+, which launches November 12. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)


And Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk will reprise their roles for Rogue One: A Star Wars story.

From Marvel

Thunderous applause greeted Marvel president Kevin Feige’s announcement that the superhero giant would be producing three more exclusive series for Disney+: Ms Marvel, Moon Knight and She-Hulk.

Beloved Marvel character Moon Knight will appear in a series for Disney+. Image: The Walt Disney Company

These will be in addition to those already announced, including WandaVision, What If? and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Feige also announced the biggest-grossing film ever, Avengers: Endgame, will be streaming on Disney+ from 11 December this year.

From Pixar

The entire Pixar library will be available on Disney+, in addition to a series of animated shorts starring the character ‘Forky’ from Toy Story 4.

Forky Asks A Question is a series of animated shorts. Image: The Walt Disney Company

And animated series Monsters at Work will be set in Monstropolis and feature guest appearances from Billy Crystal and John Goodman.

From Disney

Hilary Duff will reprise her beloved role of Lizzie McGuire in the new Lizzie McGuire series, which will see focus on McGuire’s life as a near-30 year old.

This move will likely see the streaming platform’s appeal reach young women in their 20s and 30s, who may have otherwise been untouched by its offerings.

Be Our Chef is a food competition in which the winners’ recipes will be served at Walt Disney World, while Encore is a series produced by Kristen Bell which sees high school alumni return to put on a musical.

Actress and producer Gina Rodriguez will star and co-produce series Diary of a Female President, telling the story of a middle-school girl who goes on to become a Latin-American president of the USA.

And Muppets Now will Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog in Disney+’ first-ever unscripted short-form series.

On the feature front, young adult novel adaptation StarGirl and Timmy Failure: Mistakes were Made will hit screens in early 2020.

Lady (voiced by Tessa Thompson) and Tramp (voiced by Justin Theroux) in Disney's live-action LADY AND THE TRAMP. Image: The Walt Disney Company

And the live action remake of Lady and the Tramp will be available for streaming once the service launches, starring Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux.

True story Togo, starring Willem Dafoe, will tell the story of the Great Race of Mercy which saw dog-sled teams race to transport diphtheria medicine over 700 miles to a remote Alaskan town battling the epidemic. That will appear in December.

Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader will bring Christmas to Disney+ with film Noelle, which follows Noelle (Kendrick) as she seeks out her brother who is soon to be Santa Clause after he goes missing.

From National Geographic

National Geographic announced The World According to Jeff Goldblum, a series in which Goldblum explores and questions the world and the people in it.

In The World According to Jeff Goldblum, Jeff meets up with passionate artists and doting fans from the tattoo community. He attends one of the largest tattoo conventions in the country, and surprises fans at a Pittsburgh tattoo parlor for "Jeff Goldblum Day." (National Geographic/George Lange)

What does this all mean?

It means Disney means business. As chairman and chief executive Bob Iger has made clear, Disney+ is the company’s biggest priority.

That was firmly reiterated at the Disneyland presentation, as star after star appeared on stage to ever increasing applause.

“We’re delivering massive amounts of high quality content, we’re delivering all of our libraries, great original content in one place, high-quality streaming... it’s ultra high definition, we have four concurrent streams and seven different accounts for every subscription,” Mayer told press at the expo.

“If you compare that to other services out there, just on those attributes alone… [for $8.99 a month] it’s quite good value.”

The service will also feature unlimited downloads and no limit on how many times a title can be downloaded, with subscribers also able to watch programs in 4K Ultra HD video.

Users will also be able to customise their avatar based on their favourite character, with more than 200 avatars. And the service will launch with support for English, Spanish, French and Dutch languages, in addition to closed captioning, descriptive audio and navigation assistance.

In the US, the service will also be offered as part of a bundle with Hulu and ESPN, although Disney nixed suggestions a similar bundle could be on the cards for Australia.

Disney currently has content deals with Stan and Foxtel, with Disney in a statement saying: “We will continue to explore potential partnerships in market as relevant, however ultimately Disney+ will be the exclusive streaming home for content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic.”

However, Mayer also told press that series which currently air on cable television services will ultimately live at Disney+, but will continue to air first on those third-party offerings.

The announcements also come at a difficult time for Marvel, after news broke that its partnership with Sony over Spiderman content deals broke down, meaning the iconic character will likely not appear in future Marvel films.

Will Disney+ be creating content specifically for and in Australia?

While Mayer didn’t specify which regions will be the subject of local content, he said the company has hired a former Netflix executive Matt Brody, who has a “mission to find and create content in markets where we need it”.

Marvel, which is owned by Disney, recently announced plans to shoot Thor: 4 in Sydney, offering a series of training courses for Australian film workers, which could indicate a broader desire from the company to set up a major production hub in the country.

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