Disney says The Mandalorian will return with its second season in October, with two series from Marvel — Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision — premiering in August and December, respectively.
CEO Bob Iger delivered those updates — winking at the breakout of “a certain child” (aka Baby Yoda) in The Mandalorian — along with a raft of streaming metrics and plans for the evolution of Disney+ during a conference call with analysts. Disney beat Wall Street estimates for earnings and revenue in the first quarter.
Star Wars has been on the minds of many, both in the entertainment business and on Wall Street. Star Wars, Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker was the lowest-grossing recent installment of the feature film franchise, and spinoff Solo in 2018 managed to lose money. Creative issues have plagued the feature side over the past few years. Reminding analysts of the decision to “hit pause” on feature releases, he said, “The priority in the next few years is television.”
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The Mandalorian, the Star Wars spinoff series brought to the small screen by Lion King and Jungle Book director Jon Favreau, was the signature series for Disney+, which launched last November 12. Disney has not broken out any viewership information around the show as of yet. Notably in a previously binge-oriented streaming marketplace, The Mandalorian has released episodes on a weekly basis and Disney executives have indicated they will stay with that strategy.
Iger said there is a “possibility” of extending the realm of The Mandalorian and hinted the show itself could have more than one more season in it. The company is looking at “infusing it with more characters and taking those characters in their own direction in terms of series,” the CEO mused. The value of the property has already been borne out in early research, with 65% of those who view some part of The Mandalorian going on to sample at least 10 other titles on Disney+, according to Iger.
Most questions from analysts during the call centered on streaming. “The interest and affinity with the Disney brand has risen” due to the launch of Disney+, Iger said. At 28.6 million paid subscribers as of February 3, Disney+ after a little less than three months in the U.S. and three other countries, is nearly halfway to the low end of the company’s 5-year goal of 60 million to 90 million subscribers. By the end of March, it will also be up in running in the UK, Western Europe and India.
Asked about which titles are being sampled most on the new service, Iger said Pixar and musicals are “doing really well,” as are titles from the other main verticals like Star Wars and Marvel. “It validates the concepts of putting those brands together,” he said.
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