Disney’s rookie exclusive online streaming service, rather plainly named Disney+, launched only in November of last year. And while the House of Mouse has promoted quite the number of new original productions to premiere on that platform alongside their massive library of past movies and TV shows, the new Disney+ originals are not expected to arrive all at once. Things got even worse with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which slowed or stop work on those upcoming shows. But then Disney decided to premiere the film recording of hit Broadway musical Hamilton on their exclusive service last weekend, resulting in a massive user explosion.
Seven days since the movie recording of “Hamilton” premiered on Disney+, the clamor to watch it has not abated. And as The Verge has it, the House of Mouse is gearing to capitalize on the grand positive reception by further entwining the musical created by Lin-Manuel Miranda with the larger Disney media umbrella. That is how it came across in an all-hands meeting called by Disney CEO Bob Chapek, who remarked on the increase in Disney+ subscribers the moment “Hamilton” the movie became available. He gave no concrete numbers, save that there were “a lot.”
While not expected, Disney welcomes the streaming success so far of the cinematic musical recording. After all, it is now doing something the media giant has been trying to do during the COVID pandemic and quarantine periods that have stifled entertainment productions everywhere. Plenty of the new Disney+ subscribers, believes company streaming boss Rebecca Campbell, came aboard out of a desire to watch “Hamilton.” They likely comprise of theatergoers who are bummed that the outbreak has shuttered the theatre houses. Others are possibly curious “Hamilton” fans who could not afford or access a theatre run of the musical and were just waiting on the film to premiere in cinemas instead.
Indeed, Walt Disney Pictures’ editing of the live “Hamilton” recording (stitching together three separate 2016 performances into a single play-through under director Thomas Kail) was supposed to be released next year as an unorthodox fall blockbuster. Deciding to bring it out early as a digital streaming premiere on Disney+ was inspired and successful, though thankfully for other fans the original 2021 cinema (and later home media) release are still on.
Disney now looks set to take their streaming division further, following encouraging returns for “Hamilton.” Aside from Disney+, this arm of the House of Mouse includes Hulu and ESPN Plus.
Image courtesy of Vox