Home - T Singapore

Can the Magic of Disney+ Overcome Streaming Subscription Fatigue?

By Hillary Kang

At a press event in Singapore in February, The Walt Disney Company unveiled the full slate of the Disney+ subscription service.
 
At a press event in Singapore in February, The Walt Disney Company unveiled the full slate of the Disney+ subscription service.

On February 23, Disney+ will enter an already crowded streaming subscription service market in Singapore. It brings with it over 650 films and 15,000 episodes from The Walt Disney Company’s various brands, with monthly subscriptions going for S$11.98 and annual subscriptions going for S$119.98. Singapore will also be the first market globally to launch Disney+ with all six brands: Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, National Geographic, as well as newcomer Star, which is billed as a brand for older teens and adults. Some of the first series and films to be released under the Star imprimatur on February 23 include Grey’s Anatomy, Deadpool and How I Met Your Mother.

Unsurprisingly, Disney+ is nothing short of an essential purchase for fans of Disney’s marquee franchises like Marvel and Star Wars. The streaming platform will be home to all previously released mainline movies and upcoming series from both franchises — like “Loki” in May and the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi miniseries — while any future movies released under the Marvel and Star Wars banner are sure to be found exclusively on Disney+ as well.

Marvel Studio’s chief creative officer Kevin Feige dialled into the press event for the Singapore launch of Disney+ via a live Zoom call, where he answered several questions from members of the media. He said that while the Disney+ streaming service provides a welcome stopgap for fans — especially in a time where going to the cinemas can prove to be a difficult venture — the studio will continue to focus on producing movie for the big screen. In the meantime, he added, newcomers to the Marvel Cinematic Universe should not feel intimidated by the barrage of new shows on Disney+.

Marvel Studio's chief creative officer Kevin Feige said that Marvel's content reflects the real world, but entertainment "always comes first."
Marvel Studio's chief creative officer Kevin Feige said that Marvel's content reflects the real world, but entertainment "always comes first."

“There’s an expectation that you [need to] have seen everything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but we’ve spent a lot of time ensuring that’s not the case,” said Feige. “You’re not supposed to know everything when you open page one of a new book.”

Feige also spoke about the release of the upcoming “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier,” which series composer Henry Jackman previously said would touch on “less comfortable” political themes and issues. “Marvel reflects the world outside your window,” said Feige. “[Our shows] directly parallel the state of the world we live in today. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier [will explore] what it means for Sam [Wilson] to be a black American today.” Still, as much as Marvel’s content references real world issues and current topics, Feige is adamant that “entertainment always comes first.”

“But we do [our content] within the world we live in,” he said, “So it’s inevitable that certain things come up.”

When asked about a potential Southeast Asian Marvel superhero, Feige said that fans “won’t have to wait there very long at all.” While Feige gave no further details, the upcoming “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” brings with it Marvel’s first Asian-led superhero film. The movie’s lineup includes Simu Liu as the titular superhero, along with Awkwafina, Tony Leung and Michelle Yeoh.

Osnat Shurer, producer of "Raya and The Last Dragon," said that the movie was largely about trust — a theme reflected in their real-life creative process as well.
Osnat Shurer, producer of "Raya and The Last Dragon," said that the movie was largely about trust — a theme reflected in their real-life creative process as well.

Another tentpole of Disney+ is the range of content from Disney and Pixar. One of the biggest upcoming releases is “Raya and the Last Dragon,” which features Kelly Marie Tran (of Star Wars fame) as Disney’s first Southeast Asian princess.

In a Zoom call at the press event, producer Osnat Shurer hinted that the movie would feature numerous compelling female characters, even a female antagonist, all set against the backdrop of a vibrant backdrop inspired by Southeast Asia’s various cultures. The movie might tread new ground for a Disney princess release, but as Shurer explains, some things will never change.“This movie is about trust,” said Shurer. “[Raya and The Last Dragon] was made from hundreds of homes around the world. The magic came in trusting each other and unifying.”

Disney movies both old and new will be present on the platform, bringing with them a welcome dose of nostalgia and comfort.
Disney movies both old and new will be present on the platform, bringing with them a welcome dose of nostalgia and comfort.

It’s exactly that magic that The Walt Disney Company seems to be hoping to tap on with Disney+. Aside from its range of new releases, Disney+ also brings with it a wealth of movies — both animated and live action — from the famed studio’s archives: Think 101 Dalmatians, the Toy Story series, Mulan (yes, the original animated version) and numerous other short films and spinoffs based on these beloved characters and stories, like “Pixar Popcorn” — a collection of short films featuring Pixar characters in self-contained stories — and “Dug Days,” a miniseries that follows the lovable talking dog from 2009’s “Up.”

But The Walt Disney Company isn’t just relying on old goodwill and nostalgia to carry Disney+. The platform also promises new titles, like Pixar’s upcoming Win or Lose, the studio’s first-ever long form animated series about a middle school softball team.

For casual watchers or non-fans of the MCU and the Star Wars series, a consistent subscription to Disney+ can seem like a hard sell: The platform’s biggest draw is obviously in the continuation of these long-running franchises. But to have the entire library of Disney and Pixar’s feel-good movies both old and new at your fingertips is a great boon, and comfort — especially in a time when everyone could use some magic in their lives.