How Disney's taking over the entertainment industry

Rosie Fletcher
Photo credit: Lucasfilm

From Digital Spy

Disney's been in the news a lot this week, from talks to buy 20th Century Fox's movie production arm, to the black listing of the LA times (both blown over) to yesterday's announcement about a new Star Wars trilogy. Things are, frankly, all go over at the Mouse House, with new properties and strategies spring up left, right and centre.

So much so that it's actually quite tricky to follow. But don't worry, Digital Spy is here for you! Here's a roundup of all plans, proposals and updates announced by Disney going forward that will no doubt result in complete domination of the entire entertainment industry.

Disney Streaming Service

Photo credit: Matrix Media

The studio has announced that it'll be launching a new streaming service to house all its output - it's due to arrive in 2019. The streaming service will feature brand-new exclusive content as well as all Disney-branded theatrical content from 2019 onwards.

In a move clearly designed to rival streaming giant Netflix, the studio has announced it'll be pulling all Disney content from the service. That includes Pixar and Marvel movies and even the Marvel TV shows which premiere on Netflix, including the likes of Jessica Jones, The Defenders and Luke Cage.

New Disney TV shows

Photo credit: Disney/Pixar

Along with the announcement that Disney would pull its original telly shows from Netflix came the news that it would be developing several new exclusive shows and movies to coincide with the launch of the app.

Disney CEO Bob Iger teased "four to five Disney-branded TV series" and "three to four TV movies". Later it was announced that these would include a Star Wars live-action series, as well as TV spin-offs of Monsters, Inc and High School Musical.

The Star Wars multi-verse

Photo credit: Disney

Talking of Star Wars, this week came the announcement that Rian Johnson, director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi would be overseeing a new trilogy of Star Wars movies, which won't be focusing on the Skywalkers. A very bold move which indicates a) massive faith in The Last Jedi and b) a belief that this universe has legs beyond nostalgia for the original three films.

Given The Force Awakens is the third-highest-grossing movie of all time (and Rogue One is the 22nd highest) the hubris is understandable. Disney has proven itself master of creating massive shared universes, so it's a gamble which may well pay off.

Meanwhile Solo: A Star Wars Story is coming in 2018 with further spin-off rumoured for Boba Fett, Yoda and Obi-Wan.

Disney talks to acquire Fox

Photo credit: Fox

Earlier in the week it was reported that Disney was discussing the possibility of picking up movie and TV properties belonging to 20th Century Fox. This would have included highest grossing movie of all time, Avatar, which has four sequels in the pipeline (though when we'll *actually* seem them is anyone's guess) as well as the Alien franchise (though this week Ridley Scott pretty much put a lid on the sequels he'd previously mooted), and most crucially the X-Men.

Had Disney and Fox been able to reach an agreement this would have meant Disney would be able to join up the Marvel X-Men Universe with the MCU - a crossover which has happened in the comics frequently (it's all the same universe). The scope for team-up, spin-offs, standalones and mash-up is frankly mindblowing. Now Disney's reached an agreement with Sony so that Spider-Man can appear in the MCU this would make them unstoppable in the superhero world.

Disney has another vested interest too. Fox still owns the distribution rights to Star Wars: A New Hope, meaning any re-release or re-packing of the series has to be done in partnership.

Classic Disney becomes live action

Photo credit: Disney

Another strategy the House of Mouse has successful employed is the move to turn its beloved classic cartoons into live-action updates. It's a clever way to tap into parents' nostalgia for the originals while bringing in the hottest young stars of today. No one would see the point of doing an remade animationof Beauty and The Beast, for example, but the live-action version starring Harry Potter star and feminist activist Emma Watson did great guns. And the merchandising opportunities!

Never one to rest on its laurels, Disney has already committed to live-action versions of Aladdin, The Lion King, Dumbo, Mulan and more.

The Marvel machine

Photo credit: Disney / Marvel Studios

You don't need us to tell you this behemoth isn't going away any time soon. We might have a bit of Marvel fatigue after 17 movies, but the public apparently has not. Thor: Ragnarok's box office is looking very healthy indeed and critics seemed to eat it up as much as audiences.

Disney's filled their slate till 2020 with no sign it'll dry up then.

D23 and The Star Wars Celebration

Photo credit: Lucasfilm

While Disney is only just in the process of severing ties with Netflix, it begun to venture out on its own when it comes to events D23 Expo - a bi-annual fan event with reveals from most of Disney's properties - began in 2009 and with Disney growing portfolio is getting bigger at a rate of knots.

Star Wars Celebration has being going since 1999, way before Lucasfilm came over to the Disney-side, but that, too is upping its game as the properties expand.

San-Diego Comic-Con is still an annual fan Mecca, but it does seem to look like Disney doesn't exactly need this convention anymore.

Pixar makes perfect and the Frozen frenzy

Photo credit: Disney

Meanwhile Disney's not abandoning its roots as a sculptor of family entertainment. With Pixar releasing critically acclaimed animation that's virtually a shoo-in for the Oscar win and Walt Disney Animation producing progressive and good-natured family fare like Frozen and Moana, which rake in the big bucks on repeat viewing, as well as home ents and merchandising, kids and parents are served equally well.

Risky legacy titles

Photo credit: Lucasfilm

What we don't yet know is what going to happen to two of their biggest properties. First Pirates of the Caribbean, which has made an absolute fortune for Disney (an unexpected hit given it was inspired by a Disneyland ride). And then Indiana Jones, who's getting a new outing currently slated for 10 July 2020. The most recent Pirates proved disappointing, and Johnny Depp's star has waned so we won't be surprised if this franchise were allowed to sink to the bottom of the ocean.

Indy is a complete unknown. The first three movies are adored and conjure similar feelings of nostalgia to Star Wars. The attempted reboot Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was reviled, and left the franchise with a nasty taste - rather like the three prequel Star Wars films. If Disney is to turn Indy into a Force Awakens-level success and franchise re-starter they're going to need a very steady pair of hands. Somebody call JJ Abrams!

Want up-to-the-minute entertainment news and features? Just hit 'Like' on our Digital Spy Facebook page and 'Follow' on our @digitalspy Twitter account and you're all set.

You Might Also Like