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Disney Will Test the Limits of ‘Franchise Fatigue’ in 2021 and 2022

An anonymous reader shares a report: In November 2019, just a few days after Disney+ launched, Netflix (NFLX) content chief (now co-CEO) Ted Sarandos, speaking at a Paley Center for Media event, said that Disney (DIS) is “bound by” its content universes, a reference mostly to Marvel and Star Wars. He continued: “I do think the risk of being bound in a few universes is that there sometimes may be a melting ice cube of interest over time.” That has been the most common knock on Disney for a few years now: that if Disney keeps hitting the Marvel and Star Wars pinatas, fans will get tired of it. But the numbers have proven the theory wrong — so far. Moviegoers vote with their wallets, and have voted in favor of more Marvel Cinematic Universe installments, more Star Wars stories. Six of the top 10 biggest U.S. box office openings of all time were Marvel movies, four of them “Avengers” movies. “Avengers: Endgame” (2019) is the No. 1 box office release of all time. As for Star Wars, the final three films in the “Skywalker” saga, “The Force Awakens” (2015), “The Last Jedi” (2017), and “The Rise of Skywalker” (2019), each topped $1 billion at the global box office, despite fan criticism of the plot of the final film. Spinoff movie “Rogue One” (2017) also hit the $1 billion mark. But those were all movies, with much-hyped theatrical releases.

On Disney+ over the next two years, Disney will truly test the limits of the fatigue theory with Marvel and Star Wars original shows, and might discover that even the most hardcore fans have a threshold. The sheer mountain of original content Disney unveiled at its 2020 Investor Day this month was almost comical: 52 new shows or movies coming in the next three years across Disney Studios, Disney Animation, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, National Geographic, ESPN, and FX. In the first year of Disney+, only a single live-action original series, “The Mandalorian,” was enough to propel the platform to 86.8 million subscribers. In 2021, Disney will hit the gas, with six Marvel shows hitting Disney+: “WandaVision” in January; “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” in March; “Loki” in May; animated series “What If…?” in summer; and a “Ms. Marvel” series and “She-Hulk” series (no specific date given, but Disney said 2021). Can even diehard Marvel fans find the time to watch all of those? And those are just the television shows. In theaters over the next two years, Disney will release “Black Widow,” “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Eternals,” “Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” “Thor: Love and Thunder,” “Black Panther 2,” and “Captain Marvel 2.” The Star Wars faucet won’t start blasting until 2022 and 2023, when Disney+ will get the Star Wars spinoff shows “Andor,” “Ahsoka,” “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” “Star Wars: Visions,” “The Bad Batch,” “Rangers of the New Republic,” and “Lando.”

When critics talk about Disney’s franchise fatigue risk, they’re mostly talking about Marvel and Star Wars, but if you look elsewhere in the Disney+ lineup there are additional examples of the argument. Disney’s live-action releases coming over the next two years include a “Cheaper by the Dozen” remake movie, another “Lion King” live action movie, and live-action remakes of “The Little Mermaid,” “Pinocchio,” and “Peter Pan,” plus a sequel to “Enchanted,” a Cruella De Vil live-action origin movie, and “Sister Act 3.” Disney is also planning a “Night at the Museum” animated series, a “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” animated series, and a “Chip N’ Dale” animated movie. The criticism that almost everything Disney is doing is a prequel, sequel, remake, or spin-off is not unwarranted.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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