What Disney's $75 million bet on 'Hamilton' means for streaming wars

The film version of Broadway’s smash hit “Hamilton” is heading exclusively to Disney+ (DIS) — for one hefty price tag.

The platform’s parent company reportedly paid $75 million for the global rights to the Tony-award winning musical, as streamers scramble for content amid coronavirus production shutdowns.

The film will officially drop on the platform July 3rd, and is expected to attract quite the audience with lockdown orders expected to remain in effect in major parts of the U.S.

Additionally, with Broadway’s shutdown extended through Labor Day (not to mention “Hamilton’s” already sky-high ticket price), this could be the one chance for some fans to experience it.

Broadway has extended its coronavirus shutdown through Labor Day

“In light of the extraordinary challenges facing our world, this story about leadership, tenacity, hope, love, and the power of people to unite against the forces of adversity is both relevant and impactful,” Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger said in a statement, who said the company was “thrilled” to air it on the platform.

Disney+ set to boom?

Wall Street analysts, meanwhile, are also thrilled. They remain bullish on the entertainment giant’s streaming platform, with expectations for the streamer skyrocketing for the next few years.

“Disney+ will be the biggest winner by adding 176 million subscribers between 2019 and 2025 to take its total to 202 million,” Digital TV Research Analyst Simon Murray estimated in a new note obtained by Yahoo Finance.

That’s most certainly higher than what the company expected prior to its debut. It had previously forecasted between 60 million and 90 million Disney+ subscribers by the end of 2024.

During Disney’s most recent earnings report, the company revealed on the analyst call that Disney+ has amassed 54.5 million subscribers as of May 4, just under six months after the service’s initial U.S. launch.

The “Hamilton” announcement comes more than a year ahead of the film’s anticipated theatrical debut in October 2021. Yet some analysts warn Disney+ needs a ‘second wave’ of original content in order to stand out, as competition grows increasingly fierce.

Disney+ to nab 202 million subscribers by 2025, says one analysts

Keep in mind, Disney+ is still a fairly new platform — only first making its debut in November 2019. Its uniquely branded movies and TV show — in addition to the widely successful “The Mandalorian” — helped the streamer nab 10 million subscribers on its first day.

However, its originals seem to be running low. “Hamilton” could provide the surge that Disney+ needs, especially as HBO Max (T) preps its streaming entrance in less than two weeks.

The AT&T-owned property already announced a wave of original content to hit this summer — which will allow the platform to sustain its launch even amidst the coronavirus production dry-up.


Alexandra is a Producer & Entertainment Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193

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