The Disney streaming service is beginning to crystallize. The studio has been conducting meetings within the creative community to give a sense of its new OTT service that will launch in fall 2019. Perhaps not surprisingly at this point, there was no mention of how the assets of 21st Century Fox will fit into the new service.
A team of Disney creative executives are doing the barnstorming, headed by OTT programming chief Agnes Chu. Chu’s experience includes working for ABC creating original content for digital platforms, working for Bob Iger during the opening of Shanghai Disney Resort and the relaunch of the Star Wars franchise, and most recently in franchise development at Walt Disney Imagineering. She’s surrounded by a team of execs that include Sean Bailey (expected to head up all Disney live-action family film), Tendo Nagendo (expected to slide into Bailey’s current post), Sam Dickerman and Louie Provost.
Here’s how it will work. The OTT platform, whose price point wasn’t mentioned, will start with a domestic service only, and then expand overseas. There will be no R-rated films, and the programming will be consistent with the Disney brand. The R-rated stuff will go on Hulu. The plan now is to leave the various Marvel series where they are, which means Netflix will hang onto its superhero inventory.
The goal in the first year is to generate four to five original movies, and five TV series for the streaming service. Latter will cost between $25 million-$35 million for 10 episodes, but an exceptionally ambitious series could have a budget cap of $100 million for that 10-episode season.
Here are some of the priority movie projects I heard about:
Don Quixote, from a Billy Ray script; Lady and the Tramp; The Paper Magician; Stargirl, to be directed by Julia Hart; and Togo, to be directed by Ericson Core.
In post-production and bound for the streaming service are the Mark Waters-directed Magic Camp, and the Mark Lawrence-directed Noelle with Anna Kendrick, Bill Hader and Shirley MacLaine.
Priority development projects include 3 Men and a Baby; Sword and the Stone; and Timmy Failure, the latter of which has Spotlight director Tom McCarthy in the creative mix.
On the TV side the inaugural streaming site slate includes High School Musical, an animated Monsters Inc series; a Marvel live-action title, and a Star Wars-branded title.