Today is the day that Solo debuts on Netflix. It joins The Last Jedi and Rogue One on the streaming service – though the later will be departing on the 18th. (If you’re not in the U.S., your terms – and the available films – may vary.)
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull drop on the first; Solo appears on January 9.
In Variety’s cover story on Hollywood, Netflix and the other direct-to-consumer platforms being developed, Disney CEO Bob Iger reveals that the company’s streaming service will be called “Disney Play.” THR has since gone back and changed the quote to be “a Disney play” – so it’s likely not the service’s name after all. Back to Disneyflix!
Iger says the service is the company’s “biggest priority” for 2019, and the article explores the costs, stakes and other business concerns for not just Disney, but all the other companies in the game.
One estimate says Disney would need 40 million subscribers to break even if they went with a price of $6 a month. (No pricing has been officially announced yet, but Iger has previously said that the Disney service will be cheaper than Netflix, which runs $8-14.)
The Disney service, expected to launch in 2019, will be home to a new chunk of The Clone Wars and at least one brand-new live-action Star Wars show from Jon Favreau. Older episodes of TCW (currently on Netflix) are probably a good bet, and I have no doubt that Rebels (which has never streamed outside the Disney ecosystem) and the upcoming Resistance will be found there as well. One thing the new service won’t have is the older Star Wars films – and it might only get new ones like Episode IX for a limited time (ala Rogue One and The Last Jedi on Netflix), as there’s a broadcast deal with Turner that runs through 2024.
The New York Times takes a look at Disney’s upcoming streaming service and executive Ricky Strauss, who has oversight of the programming. But for our immediate purposes, there is one new nugget here: Jon Favreau’s live-action Star Wars series has a rough budget of “$100 million for 10 episodes.”
“‘Star Wars’ is a big world, and Disney’s new streaming service affords a wonderful opportunity to tell stories that stretch out over multiple chapters,” Mr. Favreau said in an email. He added of Mr. Strauss: “Marketing is about telling a story, and his background in that area allows us to collaborate and create new content.”
$10M an episode is roughly equivalent to the episode budget for past episodes of Game of Thrones. The final season of that show is now up to $15M an episode, per Variety last year. High-end TV episodes generally come out to about $5 million-$7 million an hour. The $10M price tag also puts this in the range of The Crown, which is one of Netflix’s most expensive shows.
We also get a timeline for when Disney’s new movies will stop rolling out to Netflix: March’s Captain Marvel will be the first to go to the new service, which means we can expect Solo on Netflix.
The eighth episode has arrived on Netflix (at least in the U.S.) for anyone who wants yet another way to watch the film. It’s part of Disney’s deal with the streaming service: Rogue One was the first Star Wars film on the service under the deal. (Again, domestically; The Force Awakens did appear in some countries, while it aired on Starz here.)
The Last Jedi will arrive on (U.S.) Netflix on June 26, Buzzfeed reports today. Netflix has first-run rights to all Disney movies through at least the next year or so; 2016’s Rogue One was the first Star Wars film to hit the American version of the service last July.
Disney is expected to launch their own streaming service sometime in 2019. It’s still unclear how that may impact 2018 films like Solo.
Disney’s streaming service is expected to debut in 2019. New releases through 2018 (which include The Last Jedi and the upcoming Han Solo standalone) will probably still debut on Netflix due to Disney’s shortened contract.
The deal will end with the 2019 releases, so December 2017’s The Last Jedi and 2018’s Han Solo spinoff may still appear on Netflix. Still, this means our long wait for the rest of Star Wars is probably in vain. (And yes, those of you not in the U.S. may see Star Wars leave your Netflixes as well – assuming the Disney service goes international.)
I find this all a bit perplexing (except for the ESPN bit, because sports are their own thing.) Hardcore Disney fans may pay for a Disney-only streaming service, but everyone else? As a consumer, I’d rather not. \
The only question? When will the rest of Star Wars join it? The Force Awakens is presumably still tied up with Starz, but the streaming fate of the other six films is still a big question mark… Assuming you don’t already own them digitally.