What will Disney do? One week after AT&T Inc.’s Warner Bros. (Warner Bros) disrupted the film business, Hollywood raised this question. The company said it will screen all its 2021 films on the HBO Max streaming service for the first time on the day of the release.
In a speech to investors on Thursday afternoon, Disney executives will unveil the next steps of Disney+, the Netflix Inc. competitor launched a year ago, and the company’s other streaming sales channels.
Disney said in October it was restructuring the company to put more emphasis on streaming over traditional linear television to better meet customer demands. In addition to Disney+, the company offers Hulu and ESPN+, and next year will offer a streaming platform overseas under the Star brand.
Cinema chains including AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc, Cineworld Group and Cinemark Holdings Inc will be watching to see if Disney, the box-office leader last year, plans big changes to the slate of movies it has set for theaters.
Disney and other studios have already moved some films to streaming because the coronavirus pandemic has left many cinemas closed.
Hollywood trade publications have reported that Disney has considered shifting the release of live-action movies including “Pinocchio,” which stars Tom Hanks as Geppetto, as well as “Peter Pan & Wendy,” to Disney+ from theaters.
Media analyst Michael Nathanson said he expected Disney to announce significant increases in spending on streaming TV shows and movies, and to provide updated subscriber targets and profit goals.
A Disney spokesperson did not comment before giving a speech online.
The number of Disney+ signatories has exceeded the company’s previous forecast.
In April 2019, the company predicted that by fiscal year 2024, Disney+ will attract 60 to 90 million customers worldwide. Last month, the company said that as of early October, the number had reached 74 million.
Disney+ was boosted by the popularity of the “Mandalorian” TV series, “Star Wars” derivatives, and the character’s role is often called “Baby Yoda”.