Hamilton bumps Disney Plus mobile-app downloads up 72% in US

Hamilton dropped Friday, the most highly anticipated brand-new title to hit the streaming service since coronavirus lockdown.

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Joan E. Solsman
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Leslie Odom Jr and Lin-Manuel Miranda star in Hamilton. 

Disney Plus

Disney Plus mobile-app downloads jumped 72% in the US last weekend as the streaming service dropped Hamilton, the highly anticipated film version of the award-winning musical that Disney originally planned to release in theaters more than a year from now. 

Mobile app downloads surged 72.4% in the US on Friday through Sunday, compared with the average number of downloads during the four preceding weekends in June, app analytics company Apptopia said Monday. Globally, Disney Plus mobile app downloads were up 46.6% in the same timeframe -- that works out to to 513,323 mobile downloads globally and 266,084 in the US. 

Hamilton's early streaming release was the latest twist to Disney Plus during the coronavirus pandemic. As the coronavirus has shuttered cinemas and forced families to entertain themselves almost completely at homeDisney has been tweaking Disney Plus' role to bring them a string of surprise releases at home, as its service takes on bigger and earlier involvement in its big-screen films' releases. 

At first, Disney Plus simply started streaming already-released movies months earlier than planned. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker began streaming three months early on the May the Fourth fan day for Star Wars. Before that, Disney released animated hit Frozen 2 three months early as well, and Pixar's Onward hit Disney Plus just weeks after it premiered in theaters. 

But Hamilton was the most highly anticipated, brand new title to hit Disney Plus in the months of coronavirus shutdowns. 

The Apptopia data don't reflect any app downloads on streaming-TV platforms like Roku, Apple Fire TV, Apple TV or others. Typically, viewers tend to watch streaming services like Disney Plus more on televisions than on mobile devices. And Apptopia's global data excluded Japan and India, where Disney Plus was bolted onto existing apps in those markets. 

And, to put it in context: The Hamilton bump, at 513,323 downloads over three days, compares 3.2 million downloads in Disney Plus' first 24 hours after its November launch, which was marked by frequent crashes and disruptions because of the crush of demand. 

The version of Hamilton released Friday on Disney Plus was recorded as a live stage capture of the original Broadway cast. Coinciding with the Independence Day holiday weekend in the US, Hamilton was meant to be released in theaters in October next year. Instead, Disney made it available to stream with a $7 monthly subscription early Friday morning.