Disney has decided to bring its incredibly popular Frozen 2 to its Disney Plus streaming service three months early “surprising families with some fun and joy during this challenging period” as the country fights the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“Frozen 2 has captivated audiences around the world through its powerful themes of perseverance and the importance of family, messages that are incredibly relevant during this time,” said Bob Chapek, Disney’s recently appointed CEO, in a press release.
Bringing Frozen 2 to Disney Plus at a time when more people are working from home and schools are closing is also a chance for Disney to bolster additional subscribers. Other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu (also owned by Disney) are likely to see an increase in time spent watching titles as people stay indoors. Frozen 2, which grossed $1.4 billion globally, setting a new record for an animated film, is a highly anticipated title for the Disney Plus subscribers.
Questions about whether Disney could bring some of its anticipated titles, like Mulan and New Mutants, to Disney Plus also started circulating online after the studio announced both films theatrical releases were delayed. Bringing Frozen 2 to Disney Plus three months earlier is much different than taking a movie like Mulan and making it a streaming exclusive. Studios like Disney still earn an impressive return on investment when they release event-type movies like Mulan in theaters. The global box office in 2019 alone saw $42.2 billion. That’s the kind of money that no amount of streaming subscriptions can easily match.
This marks a rare occurrence where Disney has broken a release window to bring a film to its streaming service. In November, Disney announced that Avengers: Endgame would be a launch title alongside Disney Plus on November 12th. Former CEO Bob Iger had previously told investors Endgame would be available to steam in December 2019. Kevin Mayer, Disney’s head of direct-to-consumer services, told press that it was a one-time occurrence where a movie still within its home release window was cut short. Exceptions were made for Endgame due to Disney Plus’ launch.
That said, there were only a few weeks left in the home release window anyway. Three months is a much longer window, but shows Disney’s commitment to its streaming platform.
Frozen 2 will stream for US Disney Plus subscribers beginning March 15th. International subscribers, including Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand will be able to on March 17th.