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Disney+ Will Have More Star Wars and Marvel Every Year Than Theaters

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Disney+ has been steadily ramping up their original content, and the streaming service will not have more Marvel and Star Wars projects every year than movie theaters. Disney's most successful original project for Disney+ is The Mandalorian, a Star Wars spin-off series created by Jon Favreau. In addition, Disney+ has five other Star Wars projects planned, and eight original Marvel shows — including the highly anticipated WandaVision. Considering that Star Wars and Marvel are almost always incredibly successful at the box office, what made Disney decide to start putting the bulk of their content on Disney+ instead?

Disney+ has more upcoming Star Wars and Marvel projects scheduled every year than theatrical releases. That includes five original Star Wars shows, compared to three currently unscheduled feature films. Star Wars featured films have struggled recently, with the critical failures of Solo: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, compared to the critically acclaimed series The Mandalorian. Marvel still has ten movies making up Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe scheduled for release; however, with eight original shows on Disney+, there will be way more Marvel content streaming every year than playing in movie theaters. So why is Disney changing their release strategy to focus on Disney+?

Disney made headlines by announcing that the company is shifting their focus to prioritize streaming over theatrical releases. This is partly due to the pandemic, which has resulted in many films scheduled to release to be delayed — or skip movie theaters entirely, and land straight on Disney+. Marvel has suffered the most, with Black Widow delayed twice and currently scheduled for May 2021, and all subsequent Phase 4 films delayed to accommodate the change. However, WandaVision is still premiering as scheduled on Disney+, since its release on Disney+ is not dependent on movie theaters remaining open. That alone is a great motivator for Disney to increasingly shift their content to Disney+, a platform that they have full control over.

Star Wars has an additional reason to focus on Disney+: the success of The Mandalorian, which was renewed for season 2, compared to the failures of recent films such as Solo: A Star Wars Story. That is a sign that Star Wars needs to shift priorities from producing blockbusters to telling better stories. The Mandalorian isn't just Disney+'s most popular original shows, it's become one of the most popular entries in the Star Wars franchise. That's largely because putting The Mandalorian on Disney+ gave its creators the freedom to make better, riskier choices — instead of the intense pressure that came with the Skywalker Saga.

Putting the new bulk of Star Wars and Marvel content on Disney+ also makes financial sense for Disney. The relative success of Mulan proved that can be a financially successful model for new releases, and using Disney+ instead of a traditional movie theater means that Disney doesn't have for pay for widespread distribution. Instead, they can keep 100% of the profits from their projects. Mulan had a disappointing box office compared to other blockbusters, but created a model for future original projects on Disney+ to succeed.

Fans of Star Wars and Marvel are going to be spending a lot more time on Disney+ in the future. With the massive slate of upcoming projects that completely outpace theatrical releases, it's a definitive change from Star Wars and Marvel's previous box office dominance. Instead of tentpole feature films, the future of Marvel and Star Wars is undoubtedly heading for Disney +.
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