There are a ton of things about the Walt Disney Company these days that feel terribly corporate and against the vision of what Disney used to be and there will be time to discuss those. But for now there’s a simple statement worth repeating. It’s a thought that keeps running into my mind. Disney had a good week. It’s the kind of week other corporations only wish they could pull off so seamlessly. Even the mighty Apple, Inc. couldn’t make their streaming service event come across as well as the mouse. Bob Iger is quite the businessman who has for better or worse evolved the Walt Disney Company into the mega-conglomerate powerhouse it is today but he definitely deserves credit for how his company has seemingly responded to the challenge of launching a streaming video service that in many ways has to succeed. Then you follow that up with a Star Wars Celebration event that seemed to bring back good will to a franchise that needed it after the divisiveness of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Disney executives should be feeling pretty good about what they accomplished. So if you’ll indulge me further, let’s examine what stood out to me from this momentous week for Disney in 2019.
Disney+ Looks Worthy at $6.99
Although I can’t say I’m as surprised as the general public and some of the fawning mainstream media was at the “value” presented by the Disney+ video streaming service I will say that some of what they showed had definite potential. It was shown off in an almost flawless presentation and sure the initial price makes it a must-try for any Disney fan or family. Is this a Netflix killer? No and outside of the US market I’m still not sure how competitive Disney+ will truly be in the short-run, especially with the staggered rollout for international markets. But of course it doesn’t need to be. As long as Disney can capture a wide swath of the video streaming market it will become the defacto competitor in the space that Netflix built. It also gives the Walt Disney Company the necessary business pivot it needs as traditional TV viewership erodes and as consumers continue to choose their home theater setup vs the far more expensive box office ticket.
Thank the Star Wars gods for J. J. Abrams
To say that Star Wars: The Last Jedi divided the fandom would be a heavy understatement. Then Solo: A Star Wars Story was released and that wasn’t the box office anyone expects for a Star Wars film. Star Wars needed a win and Star Wars Celebration would be the first major chance Disney would have to give it one. But the transition to good vibes began with the proper introduction of The Mandalorian made for Disney+ TV series that was announced just a few hours prior.
There wasn’t a ton of footage shown but it was enough to whet Star Wars fans’ appetites for more. It was a sizzle real that tried to send the message that this latest take of the Star Wars saga was going to be a passion project through the watchful eyes of John Favreau and Dave Filoni and not just the obvious money making venture we all know Star Wars represents for the Walt Disney Company. More importantly the attention to detail is there for the fans of Star Wars who have an almost insatiable need for perfection when it comes to their favorite franchise.
Then finally we got the trailer. While I still have my reservations after watching The Last Jedi and I’ll never understand why they didn’t have J. J. Abrams direct the entire trilogy it was a trailer that for now gave most Star Wars fans something to be excited for. Whether it was Rey’s incredible backflip, the beautiful soaring score, seeing Lando Calrissian back aboard the Millenium Falcon or the return of Emperor Palpatine. For me it just gave me hope that J. J. once again will deliver us another hit Star Wars movie that all of us can enjoy together.
There’s a ton more to analyze in the coming months in the run up to and after the launch of Disney+ as well as the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and we’ll do just that right here on Da Mouse.