Disney+ may still be battling to take the streaming crown away from Netflix, but it just won a pretty significant victory in that streaming service war. In July, Disney+ debuted a movie that was nearly 3 times bigger than anything else Netflix premiered that month. Variety reports that movie was none other than Hamilton, which released a movie-style recording of the Broadway play, featuring the original cast. The major event status of Hamilton's Disney+ release - over the July 4th weekend, no less - resulted in a whopping 37% of surveyed viewers watching Hamilton. Netflix's most-viewed July release was Unsolved Mysteries, which was only viewed by 13.7% of viewers.
What makes this interesting is that Netflix had quite a strong release lineup for July: Unsolved Mysteries had a major buzz-worthy return; The Old Guard movie adaptation is a possible franchise-starter; Floor is Lava and Zac Efron's Down to Earth were both trending reality show launches; The Office is still streaming like crazy, and even The Baby-Sitters Club reboot series had a solid launch.
On the other hand, with Hamilton, Disney offered consumers a one-of-kind viewing event: Hamilton's fame was massive, but many had never had the opportunity (or money) to see the play in the theater - let alone in the time frame necessary to see creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and the original Hamilton cast. Disney offered that one-of-a-kind experience a no additional cost to those who had already subscribed to Disney+, while no pulling in all sorts of new subscribers by not allowing free trial members access to Hamilton, only paying subscribers. It's the kind of shrewd move that has helped Disney+ quickly ramp up its subscriber base, which now sits at 60.5 million - with subscribers more than doubling since early February, and the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns.
The immediate future will likely continue to see a push-pull tug between the two clear leaders in the streaming wars. It's hard to imagine anything on the Disney+ August slate beating Netflix, which had Umbrella Academy season 2 drop as an August-opener. The Last Airbender sequel series The Legend of Korra also arrives and is expected to be a massive success, like its predecessor. Netflix will also debut its rescued YouTube series, Cobra Kai in late August, for a nice September lead-in (before Amazon's The Boys takes over the zeitgeist that month).
However, come fall, Disney+ will quickly bounce back to take a commanding lead. The Mandalorian will once again own fall TV with an even bigger season 2 run; and Marvel's first Disney+ series - Wandavision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier - are technically still in the running to debut in the fall/holiday season.
Hamilton is now streaming on Disney+. If you haven't signed up for Disney+ yet, you can try it out here.
Note: If you purchase one of the awesome, independently chosen products featured here, we may earn a small commission from the retailer. Thank you for your support.