Ever since the launch of Disney+, there has been one standout movie genre amongst Disney fans, their huge back-catalogue of animated features, including films from Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, DisneyToon Studios, Blue Sky Studios, 20th Century Animation and Disney Television Animation. But due to the pandemic and Disney having multiple animated features flopping at the box office, I want to address the positives and negatives of Disney shifting Disney Animation and Pixar films directly to Disney+.

Building On An Already Massive Library – Positive

Let’s start with a positive if Disney released titles like the upcoming Pixar film “Elemental”, it would continue to expand on an already extensive library of animated classics and modern hits. Disney would also use the addition to showcase a more expansive offering within the animation category on Disney+.

Budgets Would Have To Be Slashed – Negative

Making animated movies is extremely expensive and costs millions per film to make, Pixar movies, for example, normally cost between $150 – $200 million dollars to produce, and that doesn’t include marketing. If Disney decided the next ten Pixar movies would be Disney+ Originals, then Disney would have to slash the budgets of those films due to advertising on animated family films being harder due to COPPA and the budgets of most streaming movies only being a couple of tens of millions.

Opening Up Different Genres – Positive

This is a considerable point that shouldn’t be underestimated, but if Disney made animated films exclusive for Disney+ instead of cinemas, it would allow Disney to be more adventurous with different genres and forms of animation. We could see Disney return to stop-motion animated films or Disney making feature-length anime movies as well as hand-drawn animation or making some animated movies aimed at a more adult audience. Disney should look at this as a core reason why they should make animated features exclusive.

Marketing Wouldn’t Be As Far Reaching – Negative

One thing we’ve all experienced with at least one theatrical Disney Animation or Pixar film is the amount of marketing Disney will push behind the film. You’d see adverts on buses, multiple trailers and featurettes, dozens of toys in your local supermarkets and toy stores, spinoff books, T-shirts and multiple posters to promote the film. For example, we haven’t seen as much money put behind the marketing campaign of any Disney+ Original animated feature (excluding the three Pixar films which were moved from theatrical to streaming due to the coronavirus).  And so many people have mentioned on social media that they didn’t even know “Strange World” was out in cinemas, due to the lack of advertising for the film.

Disney Already Has Studios Who Could Focus On Streaming Animated Features – Negative

This is another reason why Disney should keep their theatrical animated features from their streaming services and that Disney already has several in-house animation teams that could make animated films for streaming. The studios Disney have that could do this are Lucasfilm Animation, 20th Century Animation, Disney Television Animation, 20th Television Animation, and Marvel Studios has its own animation team too. Disney doesn’t need to send its Walt Disney Animation Studios or Pixar films to Disney+ when they have five different in-house studios that could do something similar.

Audiences Already Want To Watch Animated Films At Home – Positive

This might not seem like a major point but hear me out, the Coronavirus pandemic saw Disney release three Pixar films straight to Disney+, those films were “Soul”, “Luca” and “Turning Red” the move was criticised as Disney’s own animated features didn’t get the same treatment, “Raya and The Last Dragon” was released on Disney+ Premier Access and “Encanto” had a thirty-day theatrical exclusive run. Even before the pandemic, companies like Netflix were releasing animated features like “Klaus” straight to their streaming platforms and winning awards. In my opinion, Disney might have unintentionally normalised watching big-budget animated films at home.

Final Thoughts:

Whilst a lot of people do want Disney to drop all of their animated features from all their animation studios straight on Disney+ instead of releasing them in cinemas. Disney is a corporation, and corporations need to make money. Dumping animated features that cost over one hundred million dollars a piece is not a profitable route and is unstainable in the long run. At the end of the day, Disney needs to make Disney+ profitable. Otherwise, the service won’t be able to operate, so the best option for Disney is to send lower-budget animated features like “Diary Of A Wimpy Kid” to Disney+, whilst keeping their bigger budgeted theatrical animated tentpole releases like “Encanto” in cinemas.

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Ethan Holloway

Ethan is an autistic, type one diabetic, Disney fan who grew up with properties like Iron Man, The Lion King, Aladdin and Toy Story. Ethan wants to someday get his own books/films/TV shows made to inspire those with disabilities to be themselves, but for now, Ethan covers his opinions on Disney, their content and how Disney+ can improve.

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