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Disney rolls out ambitious plans in global streaming expansion

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) — Walt Disney Co. on Thursday rolled out ambitious plans to release a slate of new titles in the coming years of its global streaming expansion.

The U.S. entertainment giant will release approximately 10 Star Wars series, 10 Marvel series, 15 Disney live action, Disney Animation and Pixar series, as well as 15 all-new Disney live action, Disney Animation and Pixar features on its streaming service, Disney+, over the next few years, the company announced at its 2020 Investor Day.

The company has said it plans to release at least 100 new titles per year on Disney+.

As of Dec. 2, the company’s portfolio of direct-to-consumer (DTC) services has exceeded 137 million global paid subscriptions, including 11.5 million ESPN+ subscribers, 38.8 million Hulu subscribers and 86.8 million Disney+ subscribers since its launch in November 2019, the entertainment giant said.

Disney “now expects its streaming services to hit 300-350 million total subscriptions by fiscal 2024, driven primarily by a significant increase in content output,” it said.

“The tremendous success we’ve achieved across our unique portfolio of streaming services, with more than 137 million subscriptions worldwide, has bolstered our confidence in our acceleration toward a DTC-first business model,” Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek said in a release.

“With our amazing creative teams and our ever-growing collection of the high-quality branded entertainment that consumers want, we believe we are incredibly well positioned to achieve our long-term goals,” he said.

Disney also shared new details of its new general entertainment content brand Star, which will be included as part of Disney+ in select international markets.

Disney has said the Star brand will serve as a home to thousands of hours of television and movies from Disney’s creative studios, including Disney Television Studios, FX, 20th Century Studios, 20th Television, and more, enhanced by the addition of local programming from the regions where available.

Disney+ will be updated to include the Star brand on Feb. 23, 2021 in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. The streaming service will continue its global rollout, now with Star, in new markets beginning with Singapore on Feb. 23, 2021, followed by Eastern Europe, South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong later in 2021, according to the company.

Seemingly an unstoppable entertainment juggernaut, Disney has dominated the global box office in recent years. The company grossed around 13 billion U.S. dollars in the worldwide box office last year. As the COVID-19 pandemic that has devastated the global film industry continues, Hollywood studios are trying to survive the crisis with new movie-release patterns.

Different with another major Hollywood giant, Warner Bros. Pictures Group, which announced earlier this month it would release all its 2021 films on streaming service and in theaters at the same time, Disney will premier some blockbusters in theaters exclusively in the coming years, while others will move online.

During the Investor Day presentation, the executives of the company’s divisions shared details about their productions.

Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy announced an impressive number of exciting Disney+ series and new feature films destined to expand the Star Wars galaxy like never before.

The new Star Wars titles announced for Disney+ include “Ahsoka,” “Rangers of the New Republic,” “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” “Andor,” “The Bad Batch,” “Star Wars: Visions,” “Lando,” “The Acolyte” and “A Droid Story.”

The next feature film in the Star Wars franchise, to be released in December 2023, will be “Rogue Squadron,” directed by Patty Jenkins of the “Wonder Woman” franchise. The story will follow a new generation of starfighter pilots as they earn their wings and risk their lives in a boundary-pushing, high-speed thrill-ride, and move the saga into the future era of the galaxy.

“We have a vast and expansive timeline in the Star Wars mythology spanning over 25,000 years of history in the galaxy — with each era being a rich resource for storytelling,” said Kennedy.

“Now with Disney+, we can explore limitless story possibilities like never before and fulfill the promise that there is truly a Star Wars story for everyone,” she added.

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