A month before the official Disney + reveal, a message for Marvel fans was released: Prepare to pay if you want to understand what happens in future films.
This edict, delivered by Marvel Creative Director Kevin Feige, in a Bloomberg interview, finally materializes.
WandaVision, an exploration of the relationship between Wanda Maximoff (played by Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) through the lens of classic sitcoms, arrives on Disney + today. It marks the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first steps in television and the first of many company-wide efforts to make Disney + a staple for fans.
Due to delays from Covid-19, this is the first new live-action Marvel offering from Spider-Man: Far From Home. WandaVision’s rollout also offers original content for Marvel fans to gulp down and provide a glimpse into the new reality of streaming. Streamers seek to build their most valuable stories and characters to fight their competition and keep fans engaged.
“If I know there will be another release of a series, either related or directly related to a franchise that I’m very interested in, I’ll probably be less likely to cancel that service,” vice president and US Technology, Media and Telecom said Kevin Westcott, leader at Deloitte. “I see it as a churn prevention technique.”
At Disney, this technique is evident when reviewing its original plans for the first half of the year. Two more Marvel original series are gearing up for releases in the coming months: The Falcon and Winter Solider are set to arrive on March 19, and Loki is set to debut in May. These series give Marvel fans a reason to stick around for the first half of the year.
And it does not stop there. A tan investor day in December, newly appointed Media and Entertainment Division President Kareem Daniel said the company plans to release an astonishing 10 Star Wars and 10 Marvel series over the next several years. The finale of the second season of The Mandalorian comes with a teaser for another upcoming spinoff series titled The Book of Boba Fett, which is slated to premiere in late 2021.
“We have the capacity exclusively [to] explore these stories with these characters, with these actors, and when these stories are over and these seasons, they can come back to the big screen and then come back to Disney + ”, former head of content curation and programming Ricky Strauss said before the debut of Disney +.
Disney’s strategy is already paying off. The service has more than 86 million subscribers, a surprising number for a service just over a year old. Its very first price increase is already slated for early this year, as these new shows roll out, so it’s no wonder other entertainment giants are looking to replicate this franchise-driven success.
One of those companies is WarnerMedia, which is already looking to position DC Comics characters more centrally in the streamer’s content strategy.
The company recently shut down the standalone streaming service DC Universe and moved original series like Doom Patrol and Harley Quinn to the growing HBO Max. It also released Wonder Woman 1984 simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max last month. And there is a behind-the-scenes effort to solidify the larger DC Universe to make it cohesive across all screens.
“Since I arrived in August 2019, we’ve had weekly meetings on our major franchises, discussing how we can collaborate together and how we do the whole more than the parts, how we can bring life to life. these amazing characters and stories in a new and different way, “said Ann Sarnoff, president and CEO of WarnerMedia Studios and Networks, this week at CES 2021.” It’s all connected now, and we’re building a DC Universe plan which is much more centralized but executed individually.