Disney has sent shockwaves through the streaming industry by deciding to pull the planned theatrical run for its recording of stage musical Hamilton and instead premiering it a year earlier than planned on Disney+.
The hit musical will now become available to subscribers of the streamer worldwide from 3 July, rather than being launched in cinemas from October next year, as had been planned.
The move is being seen as an attempt to attract and retain subscribers of Disney+, which has seen production halted on a slew of its originals, such as Marvel Studios’ duo Falcon and Loki. The Mouse House’s businesses, including its cruise liners and theme park operations, have been deeply affected by Covid-19 and put even greater focus on its new SVOD.
The global rights to Hamilton, which uses a hip-hop soundtrack to tell the story of US independence from the point of view of founding father Alexander Hamilton, reportedly cost the streamer $75m.
The show is a filmed version of the theatrical show from 2016, stitched together from three performances and with the original cast. Its launch via Disney+ follows news that fellow movie Artemis Fowl will be premiered via the streamer rather than in cinemas to avoid Covid-19 restrictions.
Bob Iger, Disney’s executive chairman, said: “No other artistic work in the last decade has had the cultural impact of Hamilton – an inspiring and captivating tale told and performed in a powerfully creative way. In light of the extraordinary challenges facing our world, this story about leadership, tenacity, hope, love and the power of people to unite against the forces of adversity is both relevant and impactful.
“We are thrilled to bring this phenomenon to Disney+ on the eve of Independence Day, and we have the brilliant Lin-Manuel Miranda and the team behind Hamilton to thank for allowing us to do so more than a year before planned.”