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Disney Plus will reveal next year’s shows and movies today: What to expect and how to watch

Disney Plus will reveal next year’s shows and movies today: What to expect and how to watch


Angela Lang/CNET

Disney Plus has been the breakout hit of the so-called streaming wars, a period over the last year when seemingly everyone, including Disney, Apple, HBO, NBCUniversal and Discovery, rolled out a streaming service to take on the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. But in its first year, Disney Plus has soared to 73.7 million subscribers and outmatched all the rest of the new competitors. 

On Thursday, Disney Plus will lay out what its second year will bring. 

During a four-hour (!!!) investor event Thursday, Disney is certain to reveal exclusive shows and movies for Disney Plus — and explain how all its big-screen movies are going to be released as the pandemic to continues to keep cinema seats vacant. 


Marvel’s Black Widow movie is set to be released in theaters May 7.

Marvel Entertainment; screenshot by Joal Ryan/CNET

One report indicates Thursday’s event will unleash a trove of plans for the future of the Star Wars universe. We’re sure to get some clarity about when — and at what price — Marvel’s mega-budget blockbusters may stream on Disney Plus. The event is widely expected to bring details on Marvel original series like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision. as well as the service’s original Star Wars shows, like its Rogue One spinoff and its Obi-Wan Kenobi series starring Ewan McGregor. You can bet that The Mandalorian, Disney Plus’ smash original so far, will get some love. And the fates of many other Disney franchises should get updates too, including Pixar flicks; all the family-friendly movies and animation from Disney itself, like animated Raya and the Dragon and its live-action updates to classics like Pinocchio and Cruella; The Simpsons and possibly X-Men

And Disney’s CEO has hinted that the company will reveal more big movies that it’ll release like Mulan, offering them on Disney Plus for an extra fee the same day they hit theaters. 

Does that mean Marvel‘s Black Widow may arrive on your home TV set when it hits theaters in May, or even earlier? We’ll find out Thursday at 1:30 p.m. PT, when Disney streams its investor event outlining its plans for Disney Plus as well as its other US streaming services, Hulu and ESPN Plus as well as international streaming services Disney Plus Hotstar and a new international offering called Star. 

Because this is an investor event, it’ll have a significant emphasis on numbers, financials and projections for growth. But it’s in Disney’s DNA to put on a show, so even casual Disney fans can trust that the event will also include news about what will be available to watch on Disney Plus next year. 

Unfortunately, the public livestream of the event will black out most of the new, exciting footage. Typically, Disney would hold this kind of event in person, and only people in the room would get the first glimpses of new programming. But because coronavirus safety measures make an in-person meeting untenable, Disney is sending unique links to investors, analysts and press to watch the entirety of the presentation. 

But even if some trailers, teasers and sneak peeks are censored from the public stream, Disney said it’ll be making select images and video available after the presentation. 

Streaming is set to become an even bigger deal for Disney. In October, the company said streaming would be Disney’s top programming focus. It’s a realignment that Disney will explain at the event, even as other Hollywood giants lean hard on streaming as a pandemic strategy in their own way. Last week, AT&T’s WarnerMedia said all the new movies from its Warner Bros. studio — including Wonder Woman 1984, Dune and The Matrix 4 — would be available to stream on its own streaming service HBO Max the same day flicks hit theaters.  

Until the pandemic, Disney had been loyal to the theatrical-release norms that kept movies exclusively in cinemas for 75 days or more, helping Disney rack up more top box-office blockbusters in the last five years than any other studio. 

Could Disney follow Warner Bros.’ lead? We’ll find out Thursday.

Read more: Star Wars shows, movies we might see at Thursday’s preview event
Read more: Every Marvel show and movie we hope to hear about Thursday

When does Disney’s event start?

Disney will stream its investor day presentation on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. PT / 4:30 p.m. ET.  The livestream will become available at 12:30 p.m. PT / 3:30 p.m. ET, one hour before the presentation is supposed to start. Disney has recommended opening the stream early to test your connection and troubleshoot any streaming problems in advance. 

Where do I access the event livestream? 

The public livestream will be available on Disney’s Investor Relations website. This livestream will go dark during portions of the presentation, when executives are showing off some clips, trailers, teasers and sneak peeks that aren’t ready yet for public release. 

Only people who are registered in advance by invitation only will be able to watch the full, uninterrupted stream with all the programming footage. 

What’s the best way to watch? 

The event will be streamed with a browser-based player, so you can watch it on any screen with access to the web. Disney’s reps “highly recommend” viewing on your largest screen by casting your device to your TV, such as using AirPlay or Chromecast, or directly through your smart TV’s web browser. 

Can I record or screenshot the presentation?

Disney’s official language to people with access to the full stream is: “The content of this stream is the property of Disney. You must not forward, capture, rip, rebroadcast, share or otherwise copy the stream or any portion thereof. We reserve the right to revoke access at any time for any reason. Select slides will be made available shortly after the conclusion of the event at”

That said, everything on the public stream is, well, public — and Disney is pretty well acquainted with fans who like to dissect every public image, video and morsel of information on social media. 

Read more: Disney Plus review

Will I be able to watch the Disney event later if I miss the livestream? 

The pubic livestream will be archived and available to stream anytime on the Disney investor-relations page. Typically, this stream is available either immediately after its conclusion or shortly after the same day. 

The private, restricted streams with exclusive content will be available “for a very limited time period” shortly after the end of the livestream. It’ll only be reachable via unique access links emailed to the VIP guestlist once it becomes available. 

Select slides from the presentation will also be available shortly after the end of the event, again on the Disney investor-relations page.

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