Disney+ has been announcing a lot of content as it nears a November 12th, 2019 launch. Debuting that day will be “The Imagineering Story”, which I have been looking forward to for a long time. But there are new announcements from today, including that Disney+ has acquired the rights to “Howard”, about lyricist Howard Ashman by Don Hahn – the film will be streamed sometime in 2020. That is at the top of my list for viewing on Disney+. Other projects were also announced, including a documentary about Mickey Mouse. Read below for more information!
BURBANK, Calif. (Oct. 18, 2019) — Today the International Documentary Association invited Disney+ to give the documentary filmmaking community an inside look at the highly-anticipated streaming service’s nonfiction content strategy, including announcing the following titles and filmmakers:
- “Howard,” directed by Don Hahn (“Beauty and the Beast”);
- “People & Places,” which is produced by Supper Club’s Jason Sterman, Brian McGinn and David Gelb (“13th,” “Amanda Knox,” “Chef’s Table”), relaunches the original Walt Disney documentary short film series from the 1950s and 1960s;
- National Geographic’s Emmy Award-winning feature documentary “Science Fair” will stream exclusively on the service;
- an “Untitled Mickey Mouse Documentary” from award-winning producer Morgan Neville (“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” “20 Feet From Stardom”) and director Jeff Malmberg (“Marwencol,” “Shangri-la”);
- and “Wolfgang,” directed by Supper Club co-founder David Gelb (“Jiro Dreams of Sushi”).
- Additionally, actress/filmmaker Gillian Jacobs will direct an episode of the previously announced “Marvel’s 616” series.
“Disney has a rich history in nonfiction storytelling that dates back to the 1940s,” said Ricky Strauss, president, content & marketing, Disney+. “The projects announced and showcased here today reflect Disney+’s commitment to building on Walt’s storytelling ethos and core values of creativity, innovation, and exploration.”
The showcase featured Strauss along with Disney+ executives Agnes Chu, SVP, content; and Dan Silver, vice president, originals – unscripted, as well as discussions with executive producers behind launch originals, including Kristen Bell (executive producer, “Encore!”), Jeff Goldblum (“The World According to Jeff Goldblum”), and Leslie Iwerks (director, “The Imagineering Story”). Marvel New Media’s VP of Development & Production Sarah Amos, Supper Club’s Jason Sterman and Gillian Jacobs (director, “Marvel’s 616”) presented Marvel’s initial plans for Disney+ nonfiction storytelling.
Disney+ kicked off the afternoon by unveiling and offering insight into the newly announced projects:
- Disney+ has acquired the worldwide distribution rights for the critically acclaimed documentary “Howard.” Directed by Don Hahn (“Beauty and the Beast”), “Howard” is the untold story of Howard Ashman, the brilliant lyricist behind Disney classics like “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid” and creator of musicals including “Little Shop of Horrors.” The film will stream exclusively on Disney+ in 2020.
- Academy Award, Grammy Award, and Emmy Award-winning documentarian Morgan Neville (“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” “20 Feet From Stardom”) is producing an untitled Mickey Mouse Documentary for the service. Directed by Jeff Malmberg (“Marwencol,” “Shangri-La”), the film will work to decode Mickey’s deeper significance, getting to the core of what his cultural impact says about each of us, and about our world. From Tremolo Productions and Lincoln Square Productions, the film will strive to be the definitive analysis of Mickey as a cultural icon.
- As part of its overall deal with production company Supper Club, Disney+ announced a trio of new projects for the service:
- “People & Places” will re-launch Walt Disney’s Academy Award-winning series of documentary short films. Following in Walt’s footsteps, the series will focus on real-life stories of extraordinary people and places from around the globe that embody the Disney ethos — all told by a mix of up-and-coming and established filmmakers.
- “Wolfgang,” directed by David Gelb (“Jiro Dreams of Sushi”), will be an intimate portrait of the life and work of the original “celebrity chef,” Wolfgang Puck.
- Multi-talented artist Gillian Jacobs (“Love, “Community”) will direct the first episode in the previously announced documentary anthology series “Marvel’s 616.” From the perspective of what it means to be a woman in what’s perceived to be a male-driven industry, “Higher, Further, Faster” will shine a light on the trailblazing women of Marvel Comics and explores how they found ways to tell stories of representation and inclusion. Jacobs will be joined by Paul Scheer, David Gelb, and Andrew Rossi, among others, to helm additional episodes of the series. The episodes will focus on a range of topics including an intimate look at the cosplay community, Marvel’s influence and relationship with hip-hop, illustrators who live and work internationally, and following a high school theater production of Marvel and Disney’s “Spotlight” program. “Marvel’s 616” will stream exclusively on Disney+ in 2020.
- Disney+ will also be the exclusive global streaming home for National Geographic’s Emmy Award-winning documentary film “Science Fair,” which will be available when the service launches on November 12. The winner of audience awards at Sundance Film Festival and SXSW Film Festival, “Science Fair” follows nine high school students from around the globe as they navigate rivalries, setbacks and, of course, hormones, on their journey to compete at The International Science and Engineering Fair.
Producers from nonfiction titles that will be available when Disney+ launches joined Simon Kilmurry, executive director, International Documentary Association and Lynette Rice, editor at large, Entertainment Weekly for a series of conversations exploring their behind-the-scenes process and working with Disney+.
- Executive Producer Kristen Bell shared the first extended look at her unscripted series “Encore!.” The series brings together former castmates of a high school musical, tasking them with re-creating their original performance in a high school reunion like no other. Each episode follows a new cast of returning alumni as they attempt to pull off a standing-ovation-worthy performance of beloved musicals like “The Sound of Music,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Annie” and more. “Encore!” will stream exclusively on Disney+ November 12.
- Sarah Amos, vice president, Development & Production, Marvel New Media, Supper Club’s Jason Sterman, and Gillian Jacobs shared insight into original nonfiction stories that complement and explore the 80-year legacy of Marvel including “Marvel’s Hero Project,” which premieres on Disney+ November 12. Produced by Supper Club and directed by Jacobs, “Marvel’s 616” including “Higher, Further, Faster” will stream on Disney+ in 2020.
- Prolific documentarian and Academy Award and Emmy Award-nominated director and producer Leslie Iwerks (“The Pixar Story,” “Citizen Hearst”) gave a look inside the production process of her documentary series “The Imagineering Story.” The six-hour saga chronicles the 67-year history of Walt Disney Imagineering, a place best described as equal parts artist studio, design center, think tank and innovation laboratory. “The Imagineering Story” streams exclusively on Disney+ November 12.
- Jeff Goldblum, who executive produces and stars in “The World According to Jeff Goldblum” from National Geographic, premiered the series’ “Tattoos” episode for the audience before giving a peek inside his curious mind. Each episode of the series is centered around something we all love — like sneakers or ice cream — as Jeff pulls the thread on deceptively familiar objects and unravels a wonderful world of astonishing connections, fascinating science and history, amazing people, and a whole lot of surprising big ideas and insights. “The World According to Jeff Goldblum” streams exclusively on Disney+ November 12.
The nonfiction Disney+ Originals will join the previously announced slate of scripted live-action and animated series and films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Lucasfilm, and more, in addition to Disney+ vast library of nearly 500 films and 7,500 television episodes including 30 seasons of “The Simpsons” in the U.S. Disney+ is now available for pre-order in the U.S. for $6.99/month or $69.99/year.
Launching on November 12, 2019, Disney+ will be the dedicated streaming home for movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and more, together, for the first time. From The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International segment, Disney+ will offer ad-free programming with a variety of original feature-length films, documentaries, live-action and animated series and short-form content including series “The Mandalorian,” “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” and films “Lady and the Tramp” and “Noelle.” Alongside unprecedented access to Disney’s incredible library of film and television entertainment and 30 seasons of “The Simpsons” in the U.S., the service will also be the exclusive streaming home for films released by The Walt Disney Studios in 2019 and beyond, including “Captain Marvel,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Aladdin,” “Toy Story 4,” “The Lion King,” “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” “Frozen 2,”and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” The service will launch in select geographic territories, including U.S., Canada, and The Netherlands, followed shortly by Australia and New Zealand, with the expectation to be available in all major markets within the first two-years. Visit DisneyPlus.com to learn more.