Disney Plus is proving to be no exception to the dominance of streaming services over the theatrical box office.
Disney entered the “streaming wars” with the announcement of its own streaming service. The service is expected to be released Nov. 12, 2019, and plans to include all Disney-owned properties as well as recently purchased Fox titles. Disney Plus is providing tougher than expected competition to other services like Netflix and Hulu with a starting price of $6.99 per month. This competition is not bad news just for Netflix, however, but even more so for the theatrical business.
Outside of popular franchises like Marvel and DC, theater box office revenue has been struggling. The popularity of Netflix binge-watching appeals to audiences who prefer to stay home rather than go to a theater and spend their time and money. In turn, this affects both large and small film production companies as well as hopeful franchise starters that never come to be. With streaming, theatrical content is becoming less of a safe bet, according to box office returns.
On the other hand, some students at the River still prefer the theatrical experience.
“Going to the theater is always more of an experience,” junior Jonah Jaccobi said. “I can sit at home any time I want to, but it wouldn’t be the same as watching something in a theater.”
One concern for Disney’s new service is the effect on their own theatrical business by launching Disney Plus. Having both theatrical and streaming success is ideal, but audiences may choose one option over the other entirely.
“I would prefer to stay home and watch Disney Plus,” junior Gabe Garcia said. “I can hit pause any time I need to.”
Disney also had the largest share of the market of any competing studio. In 2018, Disney owned 26% of the market share with 10 films, compared to runner up studio Warner Bros., which released 38 films that made up 16.3% of the year. Combining the two most popular forms of entertainment into one streaming service will most likely be a profitable venture, but the rest of the market may be left for dead.