As studios continue to grapple with the potential loss of business due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, decisions continue to be made on a near weekly basis about what films will hold out for theatrical exhibition and which will make the pivot to streaming. Just yesterday WarnerMedia announced that Wonder Woman 1984 will be available in theaters and streaming on HBO Max on Christmas Day, before that Disney announced the new Pixar movie Soul will debut on Disney+ on December 25 as well, after having its theatrical debut delayed. Now the house of mouse is reportedly considering even more shifts from theaters to streaming and it appears they're focusing on their live-action remakes of animated properties.
According to Deadline, while no final decision has been made, Disney is considering a Disney+ debut for Cruella, the live-action Emma Stone starring film about the 101 Dalmations villain; Pinocchio, the upcoming version directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks; and Peter Pan and Wendy, the version directed by David Lowery. All of these films had been slayed to arrive in theaters at some point, but with the uncertainty of theaters even being open over the next six months this will mark a good addition to their streaming platform.
The good news for Disney is that their streaming service is already outpacing their estimates for subscribers. Earlier this month the company confirmed that as of October 4 (the close of fiscal year Q4) Disney+ had surpassed 73.7 million paid subscribers, an increase of 13.2 million from their last update on subscriber numbers in August. It's worth noting that this October 4 cut-off happened almost four weeks before the season two premiere of The Mandalorian, the clear flagship series for Disney+ that has long been the main reason for many to subscribe since it launched a year ago today.
"Even with the disruption caused by COVID-19, we've been able to effectively manage our businesses while also taking bold, deliberate steps to position our company for greater long-term growth," Disney CEO Bob Chapek said in a statement. "The real bright spot has been our direct-to-consumer business, which is key to the future of our company, and on this anniversary of the launch of Disney+ we're pleased to report that, as of the end of the fourth quarter, the service had more than 73 million paid subscribers – far surpassing our expectations in just its first year."
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