Now that we have officially kicked off 2019, we are less than a year away from the premiere of the new Disney streaming service, appropriately titled Disney+. We also know that when the service kicks off, it will bring with it a slew of Star Wars content including two new series' in the form of The Mandalorian and a Rogue One spinoff, plus a seventh season of the popular "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" series.
The back catalogue will be impressive no doubt, but what are the chances of new and original Star Wars films debuting on the service? As it turns out, not so great. In an interview with Barron's, Disney CEO Bob Iger let it be known that the film-first franchise will, for the time being, premiere big-budget Star Wars films on the big screen only.
For him, it appears that line in the budget sand seems to be the $100 million mark...
"Our studio makes between eight and 10 movies a year, and they're big budget, hopefully big box-office films, that really belong, we believe, on the big screen," Iger told Barron's. "We're not looking to take one of those and put it on this platform. When we made the announcement, we said we're going to make original movies for the platform. A number of ideas were pitched. Other than one, which was being contemplated for the big screen but wasn't a big movie, none of them were in development as big-screen movies. One of them that we're making for the platform is a remake of Lady and the Tramp. There was not one discussion about whether we should make that for the big screen. Everybody said this is a great story, would love to make it again, let's make it for what we call 'the service' internally."
"Almost every movie the studio makes is a $100 million-plus movie, and we're not looking to make movies at that level for the service," Iger continued. "We're looking to invest significantly in television series on a per-episode business, and we're looking to make movies that are higher budget, but nothing like that. We wouldn't make a 'Star Wars' movie for this platform. When everybody goes out on the weekend and you have a movie that opens up to $200 million, there's a buzz that creates that enhances value. We like that. And eventually the movies we're making are going to [end up on] the service."
This isn't a big deal to me as all the films will end up on the streaming serivce eventually anyways. The service, much the same as Netflix, will suit a series format better at the beginning anyways and as time goes on, more and more content will be added to the library. But one thing that will most likely change is the speed in which these films make it to the digial market as Disney will control the streaming release dates now.
For the full interview with Bob Iger, go to www.Barrons.com.
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