DISNEY’S BIG move away from Netflix just took another major step.
Bob Iger, the company’s walking winning streak of a chief executive, announced Thursday that two of its biggest cinematic franchises, Star Wars and Marvel, will migrate to Disney’s streaming service that’s set to go live in 2019.
Iger’s pronouncement settles a question that had hovered for a month, since Disney announced that it would launch a sports streaming service next year and a family-friendly streaming service by 2019. Disney owns ESPN and Pixar, as well as Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm.
“We’ve now decided we will put the Marvel and Star Wars [movies] on this app,” Iger said Thursday morning, during a communications and entertainment conference near Los Angeles area, according to Variety.
That decision sends an “all-in” signal to industry observers wondering just how big Disney’s streaming goals might be. Marvel and Star Wars films had been offered through Netflix, and Marvel and Netflix have partnered on original superhero series in the “Defenders” universe, such as “Jessica Jones” and “Luke Cage.”
As Disney adapts to cord-cutting and mobile-device trends in viewership, it is only smart to maximize the worth of its content through its own streaming services — especially given its mega-franchise films due in 2019, including “Star Wars: Episode IX,” a new Avengers film, “Frozen 2,” “Toy Story 4″ and a live-action adaptation of “Lion King.”
Fourteen Disney films have grossed more than $1 billion worldwide, including two Star Wars releases and four Marvel movies.