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Disney+ streaming service: Release date, price, shows and movies to expect

Disney's getting ready to give Netflix a run for its money. But will it be worth it?

Marvel Studios 2018, artist: Ryan Meinerding

Disney is betting big on its 2019 streaming service called Disney+. 

The company is ending its streaming deal with Netflix to launch its own service that will be the exclusive home for Disney movies, TV shows and other original programming. Disney CEO Bob Iger has said the streaming service is the company's "biggest priority" for 2019.

Just don't expect movies from any Disney mega-budget franchises like Star Wars to debut there. The company is reserving those for theaters first. 

If you're feeling monthly fee fatigue, sorry but that's the direction the entertainment business is headed. Netflix trots out original shows and movies on a near daily basis. Hulu (which will be controlled by Disney after its acquisition of Fox) provides an online home for many broadcast networks. CBS is pumping its CBS All Access service full of Star Trek shows and other original programs. (Editors' note: CBS is CNET's parent company.)  NBCUniversal, HBO-owner WarnerMedia and Apple are all building their own streaming services. Even DC Entertainment now has its DC Universe streaming service full of shows, movies and comics.

So is the 2019 Disney+ streaming service something you should consider? The details are below, though here's the tl;dr: If you love Star Wars or Marvel movies, yes.

On Nov. 8, Disney announced a Star Wars prequel series based on Rogue One and starring Diego Luna, who played Cassian Andor in the original movie. Disney also confirmed that the service is developing a live-action Marvel series focused on Loki, a character from the Avengers, which will star Tom Hiddleston reprising the role.  Also, the Marvel Defenders shows Netflix has cancelled -- like Daredevil and Luke Cage -- could be revived for Disney+.   

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What's the Disney streaming service?

Disney+ streaming service will be a competitor to video-streaming services like Netflix. Customers will be able to subscribe with a still-unannounced monthly fee to get access to TV shows, movies and other content from the world of Disney. 

When's the release date? 

You may be waiting even longer than Avengers 4 for this. Disney says it's shooting for a release in late 2019. 

How much will it cost?

Disney hasn't yet announced pricing for its streaming service, but expect it to cost less than Netflix

Iger said in November 2017 that his company's service price will reflect the "fact that it will have substantially less volume" but plans to make up for it with high-quality programming from across its entertainment empire. More than a year later, however, Iger said the company still hadn't decided what it will charge. 

clone

The Clone Wars is getting a new season, exclusively on Disney's upcoming streaming service.

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

How will this effect Disney stuff on Netflix?

Disney will mostly disappear from Netflix. 

Since 2016, Netflix has been the first place to watch Disney's movies with a subscription. That deal meant Netflix was the go-to place for the biggest US blockbusters of the last three years. The top two movies of 2017 and the top three movies of 2016 and 2018 were all from Disney, and Netflix has been the place to binge them all. 

But Disney decided against renewing that Netflix deal as it plotted its own competitor. Starting with Disney's 2019 slate of movies, all those films are destined for Disney+. 

Netflix's Marvel Defenders shows are complicated, though. Netflix has put out five original series based on Defenders' characters in partnership in with Disney. In 2018, Netflix canceled three of them: Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Kevin Mayer, the Disney executive in charge of Disney+, has said Disney+ could possibly revive the canceled shows. But the terms of their original deal could restrict Disney+ from any revivals until 2020, according to a report. 

At the same time, Netflix still has subsequent seasons of other Defenders series -- Jessica Jones and The Punisher -- set to come out in 2019. So some of the Defenders gang is staying at Netflix for the time being. 

Shows and movies: What will I be able to watch?

Disney plans to make Disney+ the online home for all its family-friendly content, while Hulu -- which Disney will control after its takeover of 21st Century Fox -- will be its subscription for edgier, more adult-oriented fare. Disney+ will be the only place you can stream all of Disney's theatrically released movies starting with its 2019 slate. That includes content from the Disney brand itself, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars and National Geographic. In fact, it's organizing the service's app by those exact categories.  

In addition to live-action shows and movies, animation is supposed to be "integral" to Disney+, Iger has said. Disney+ will have original behind-the-scenes documentaries, too. Out of the vast library of Disney's past catalog, Disney+ is supposed to offer "thousands of hours" of content, but we don't know yet exactly what will be included.  

Even though all of Disney's movies will stream exclusively on Disney+, the company doesn't plan to debut any of its big-budget motion pictures, like those in its Star Wars franchise, on the service. Unlike Netflix's so-called day-and-date approach, which releases most of its films on big screens and on its streaming service at the same time, Disney plans to let its tentpole movies run their course in theaters before making them available with a Disney+ digital subscription. 

We do know the service will include shows and movies such as: 

  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars new season (exclusive to this service).
  • Marvel movies, starting with 2019's Captain Marvel.
  • Star Wars films, starting with 2019's Episode 9.
  • Pixar films, starting with 2019's Toy Story 4.
  • A live-action, big-budget Star Wars TV series called The Mandalorian, being developed by Jon Favreau.
  • A Star Wars Rogue One prequel TV series, starring Diego Luna.
  • A live-action Marvel series focused on Avengers character Loki, starring Tom Hiddleston. 
  • Possible Marvel series that could star Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), according to Variety.
  • Possible Marvel series that would team up Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Sam Wilson aka Falcon (Anthony Mackie), according to Slashfilm.
  • An animated series based on Pixar's Monsters Inc.
  • A documentary about Walt Disney Imagineering.
  • A Timmy Failure film directed by Spotlight's Tom McCarthy.
  • A live-action Lady and the Tramp remake.
  • The Sword in the Stone remake.
  • Noelle, a movie starring Anna Kendrick.
  • Togo, a sled dog movie starring Willem Defoe.
  • A Three Men and a Baby remake.
  • The Paper Magician film.
  • A Stargirl film.
  • A High School Musical series.
  • A possible Muppets series.

What shows and movies do you want to appear on Disney's streaming service? Pop them into the comments section and we'll keep updating this post with more information as it becomes available.

This piece was first published Aug. 27, 2018, and is updated as more news arrives.

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