Disney’s Netflix-killing shows revealed
MASSIVE media conglomerate Disney has revealed some of its huge library of original and acquired content that will be coming to its Disney+ streaming service when it launches in Australia next week, but early indications suggest it might not be a smooth entrance into the market.
In a rapid fire compilation video on Instagram, the content giant revealed a variety of classic Disney titles that will be available to stream from next Tuesday for $8.99 a month.
The video contains few other real surprises, given Disney has its own sizeable collection of content, as well as a slew of acquired iconic brands with intellectual property that would be headline items on other services.
Disney acquired Marvel and its cash-printing superhero franchises for $US4.24 billion ($A6.2 billion) in 2009, and paid roughly the same for LucasFilm (Star Wars and the Indiana Jones franchises) in 2012.
Earlier this year it put the aforementioned acquisitions to shame when it paid $US71.3 billion ($A104.2 billion) for 21st Century Fox, adding even more beloved properties to its armoury, including the National Geographic brand, and more than 600 episodes of iconic sit-com The Simpsons.
But it also has new original titles coming to the service, including the Star Wars spin-off series The Mandalorian, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (a nostalgia chasing meta-series about a high school drama class getting ready to stage their production of High School Musical: The Musical).
Documentaries The World According to Jeff Goldblum, the Imagineering Story, and Marvel's Hero Project, and Kristen Bell hosted reality show Encore!, where former drama students are reunited to perform their high school musicals years after they've likely forgotten their blocking, will also feature.
There are also a number of short-form Pixar series such as Pixar IRL and SparkShorts.
Disney are taking a different approach to streaming leader Netflix with its original programming, eschewing the binge-watch model of dropping entire series' on the same day for viewers to enjoy at their leisure or immediately inject right into their eyeballs, and instead opting to release new episodes weekly.
Australia will be one of the first countries to get access to Disney+, after it launched in the US, Canada and the Netherlands earlier this week.
But thing haven't been exactly smooth sailing.
Millions of viewers who raced to sign up on launch day were greeted with error messages and were unable to connect.
"The consumer demand for Disney+ has exceeded our high expectations," a Disney+ spokesperson told Quartz in relation to the technical dramas.
Those who did manage to get past the issues quickly found more, less technical issues.
Despite placing disclaimers on some of its older titles warning of "outdated cultural depictions", Disney warns viewers that programs are "presented as originally created" and "may contain outdated cultural depictions".
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One example includes Dumbo's Jim Crow scene, which despite rumours it would be, has not been edited out of the 78-year-old film.
Other films that have attracted attention for their "outdated" content include Fantasia (1940) and Lady and the Tramp (1955)
The controversial Disney musical Song of The South won't be streaming due to its depictions of race that Disney CEO Bob Iger previously said "wouldn't necessarily sit right or feel right to a number of people today," and would not be in the "best interest of our shareholders to bring it back, even though there would be some financial gain".
But while Disney has taken the disclaimer approach rather than modifying its older content, it hasn't been as faithful to original vision of some of its acquired properties.
Already, users have been complaining that episodes of The Simpsons, one of the longest running television shows of all time, has been butchered by a requirement to fill up modern televisions.
Much of The Simpsons, including what most would consider its best years, is presented in the 4:3 ratio of old, but on Disney+ they've been cropped and stretched to fit modern wide-screen televisions without being presented in black bars.
Fans have been quick to point out the drawbacks of doing so on social media:
All the classic Simpsons episodes on Disney+ are in cropped widescreen format -- this means you miss out on tons of great visual jokes, like how Duff, Duff Lite and Duff Dry all come from the same tube. pic.twitter.com/cTy9adulFl— Tristan Cooper (@TristanACooper) November 12, 2019
The much-discussed "Han Shot First" scene from the original Star Wars movie has also been altered yet again, but it's understood this change was made by creator George Lucas himself during a 4K conversion and not by Disney.
How...? Who...? How is this something someone decided to do? I can’t even make a clear thought about this. pic.twitter.com/buC5ptGQ7S— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) November 12, 2019
All up, Disney's entrance into Australia streaming video market appears to lean on the nostalgia of its past with a handful of new originals.
The service will likely be popular for families given the child-focused nature of much of Disney's past content, but the inclusion of popular franchises geared at adults means there should be something for everyone to enjoy.
Will you be signing up for Disney+ next week? Let us know what you're keen to watch first in the comments below.
This is TERRIBLE! Please @Disney / @disneyplus put “The Simpsons” on properly!
• You have disclaimers: “This Program is presented as originality created”
But apparently “NOT” if it was from #FOX#DoTheRightThing & give option to watch in proper aspect ratio: 4:3 pic.twitter.com/2EdRFLK1tP