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Disney+ plots 20 Star Wars and Marvel shows, sets split 'Raya' release as subscriptions hit 86 million

By Benjamin Bullard
Raya and the Last Dragon

It's been a year since the launch of Disney+, with the Mouse House steadily racking up followers on the strength of a certain Star Wars bounty hunter and his adorable little green sidekick. Now, boosted by the possibilities of its streaming platform hinted at by The Mandalorian, the push to get big-screen films into living rooms even sooner is taking its next big step.

During today's virtual Investor Day event, Disney's Rebecca Campbell touted the "exceptional performance out of the gate" of its streaming platforms, sharing that Disney+ had amassed 86.8 million overall subscribers to date. Hulu, meanwhile, has reached 38.8 million subscribers.

With that kind of audience — particularly for Disney+ — it comes as little surprise that Disney is preparing to double down on its biggest name brands. The company revealed on the presentation that it would launch "roughly" 10 new Marvel series, 10 new Star Wars series, and 15 new live-action, animation and Pixar series (as well as the same number of feature-length films) over the next few years. All of them will be developed to premiere on Disney+.


News of Disney's redoubled focus on streaming comes as the company revealed it had hit all its subscription targets for Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ in the year since their platform debuts. In keeping with the streaming emphasis, Raya and the Last Dragon will be the next of Disney's theatrical features to receive a simultaneous release to both theaters and its go-to streaming service. The Walt Disney Animation Studios movie will arrive as a day-one premium rental when it debuts on March 5 of next year, much in the same way that Warner Bros. is simultaneously releasing Wonder Woman 1984 to both big screens and HBO Max.

The Investor Day event was set to introduce a handful of the new Star Wars and Marvel properties, which will join The Mandalorian and the growing Disney+ stable of upcoming Marvel series like WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Hawkeye, Loki, and more. When it arrives next March, Raya and the Last Dragon will bring the voices of Kelly Marie Tran (The Last Jedi) and Awkwafina (Future Man, The Farewell) to a fantasy adventure directed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, and featuring an original score from Oscar-winning composer James Newton Howard.

Citing its new emphasis on creating so much upcoming original streaming content for Disney+, Disney also revealed that U.S. viewers will see a $1 bump in their basic subscription price. Beginning in March of 2021, a standalone Disney+ subscription will hop to $7.99 per month. The company projected staggering overall growth for the platform, anticipating a leap in its subscriber base of somewhere between 230 million and 260 million viewers by the end of 2024.