For instance, in its 13th week in theaters, "Avengers: Endgame" the latest film in Marvel's Avengers franchise officially overtook "Avatar" (also now Disney-owned, thanks to its acquisition of Fox studio assets) as the highest-grossing film of all time at just over $2.7 billion . And all four Avengers films appear within the top 10 highest-grossing films of all time.
Disney will intertwine the storylines of its Marvel shows which will be exclusive to Disney+ with theatrical releases, and that could make the SVOD indispensable to Marvel's massive fanbase.For example, movies like the upcoming sequel "Doctor Strange in the Mulitverse of Madness" set to debut in May of 2021 will feature Elizabeth Olsen's Avengers character Scarlet Witch.
But to understand why she's in the movie, viewers will need the context from her Disney+ exclusive original "Wandavision," set to hit the service a year prior. In a way, this gives Disney+ a longer runway to grow subs: The service will likely pick up more subs with each franchise film that is clarified by Disney+ exclusive content.
While it's unclear how long it may take for films to migrate from theaters to Disney+, integrating characters and storylines from Marvel films can ideally help Disney monetize Marvel fans twice: at the box office and at home.
Disney is also innovating on its legacy by creating more inclusive versions of its classics, which will help it maintain and expand its addressable fandom.Disney already touts a world-famous brand, and its commitment to inclusivity within new titles will help it maintain that presence over time.
For example, Marvel has been pushing women and people of color to the forefront of its content, and to great success so far: "Captain Marvel" generated $1.13 billion in global box office sales, putting it at No. 22 of highest-grossing films of all time, and "Black Panther" pulled $1.35 billion , putting it at No. 10. Plus, "The Lion King" just broke records with its opening weekend, boasting a predominantly black cast, and huge names like Beyonc and Donald Glover.
Disney will build on this with "Phase 4": Forthcoming Marvel films will include the studio's first-ever Asian superhero; a female Thor, played by Natalie Portman; the first-ever openly gay superhero; and the first-ever disabled superhero. Pulling fans into worlds that reflect them is a good strategy in that it helps generate the kind of immersion a universe like Marvel thrives on.
By adapting its franchises and offering one of the most competitive prices on the market I think Disney+ can eventually surpass Netflix in terms of US subscribers.I've been a bit skeptical in the past about whether Disney would be able to dethrone Netflix with Disney+.
After all, among US households with an SVOD service, Netflix is the most popular by far, indicating that many people consider the service a must-have. But while Netflix is under mounting pressure to churn out brand new, original IP that will attract and retain subs, Disney is building off of an existing base with an incredible track record.
Disney's ability to override franchise fatigue among die-hard fans could enable it to push through another sort of fatigue subscription fatigue. Taken together with its $7 price point, I think Disney's service will overtake Netflix's top spot within the next few years.
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