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Disney+ sees 10 million sign-ups on Day 1, but still no Spidey movies
It's official: Disney+ is a hit. While it was never really in doubt with the Mouse House juggernaut behind it, the streaming service has brought unprecedented numbers to its unprecedented offering of content. The streamer united the Star Wars, Marvel, and Disney/Pixar film libraries into a massive service, sporting original and buzzy series like The Mandalorian. Now, with all of that consolidated content, it's clear the company that keeps dominating the box office is ready to crush streaming next.
According to Variety, Disney+ has signed up over 10 million users since its launch on Nov. 12. That's more than even the highest industry expectations for the $6.99-per-month streamer, possibly bolstered by Verizon’s free-year deal and the weeklong free trial. Per Variety, analysts had predicted that the service would nab around 8 million subscribers by the end of the year — a number that Disney+ blew past in one day alone. (These robust numbers may also have contributed to service slowdowns that some experienced on launch day.)
Still, there was something — or someone — missing from Disney+: Spider-Man.
Disney+ launched Monday with a slew of MCU entries, but Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home were conspicuously absent. That’s because Sony’s got the rights to them. And while Tom Holland's webslinger will be staying in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the drama between Disney and Sony over the character isn’t quite over. Sure, the two companies settled on a co-production deal for their feature films, but the streaming rights are another issue entirely.
According to The Verge, Disney’s fine with the current situation. “We love our friends at Sony, but we don’t have any plans to have the live-action Spider-Man movies on Disney+,” Ricky Strauss, Disney’s head of content and marketing for Disney+, said. “We will have all the Spider-Man animated shows that we did, so they’ll be on there under the Marvel banner. But who knows what can happen in the future?”
As for other MCU films that aren't on Disney+ yet, many still fall under a deal at Netflix: Black Panther, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Avengers: Infinity War, and Thor: Ragnarok. They’ll head to Disney’s streamer in the coming months. Thor: Ragnarok will arrive on Dec. 5, and next year will see Black Panther (March 4), Avengers: Infinity War (June 25), and Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 29). (Subscribers can find those drop dates by simply by searching a film's title on the service.)
In other Disney+ news, the streaming service has added a disclaimer to the descriptions of some of its older catalog titles. The landing pages for films like The Jungle Book and Aristocats note that the movies “may contain outdated cultural depictions.”
Indeed, the streaming service’s vault-unlocking may be the first time that some moviegoers are seeing some of the House of Mouse’s older catalog offerings — films that, when viewed through today's sociocultural lens, raise questions about social acceptability. Many have taken 1970’s The Aristocats to task, for instance, for featuring Siamese cats that critics say play to Asian stereotypes.
The disclaimer also appears on fare like Dumbo and the original animated Lady and the Tramp (another Siamese cat offender). The new live-action remake of the latter film, which debuted on Disney+, removed these questionable elements.