MarvelBlog News for July 23rd, 2023
As Hollywood faces its first multi-pronged strike since 1960, Marvel weighs its options for strengthening the brand in the interim.
We’ll discuss some fascinating new strategies in the latest edition of MarvelBlog News.
Did We Say Exclusive?
When Disney+ unveiled its first two Marvel television series, WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (TFAWS), it emphasized exclusivity.
Fans couldn’t watch this content anywhere else, even on the Disney Channel.
Instead, Marvel viewers HAD to subscribe to Disney+ to watch these series.
That philosophy has remained for two-and-a-half years now, but it’s ending as we speak.
As of July 21st, Disney fans could watch the first three episodes of Secret Invasion on a different streaming service.
Of course, we’re still talking about one that The Walt Disney Company owns. Disney isn’t ready to position Marvel content on a competing service.
Still, for the time being, you can watch the first three episodes of Secret Invasion on…Hulu!
That’s the inverse of how this story has played out recently. Several Hulu exclusives eventually transitioned to Disney+.
The most notable of them was probably Marvel’s Runaways, which Disney has since removed entirely from both services.
That point alone exemplifies how much has changed in the pandemic’s aftermath.
Disney had previously anchored its newest streaming service, Disney+, with Marvel content.
Thus far, the results have been wildly divergent depending on the content.
The most recent two Disney+ series, Ms. Marvel and Secret Invasion, have done fine, but they aren’t the blockbusters hits we’d come to inspect.
During Secret Invasion’s first week on the Nielsen streaming charts, it claimed 461 million minutes, which is good but not “this is the Avengers: Endgame of Disney+!” good.
In fact, that total falls a bit short of TFAWS, which claimed 495 million minutes in its first week on the charts.
Yes, the situations are different in that we don’t have a pandemic keeping people home now, but Secret Invasion’s performance is…just okay.
The New Plan(s) for Marvel Television Content
Disney will air Secret Invasion on Hulu for a simple reason. The company hopes to entice a different audience to watch the program.
Presuming that they like Secret Invasion, which holds a respectable 63 percent score on Metacritic, they’ll want to watch the season’s second half.
To do that, they’ll need to sign up for Disney+ or add the Disney Bundle.
Meanwhile, the people who don’t subscribe to Disney+ already but have Hulu accounts can try a product they otherwise wouldn’t.
Disney is playing with the format here to find the best means of leveraging its content to attain the most viewers, subscribers, and revenue.
The Secret Invasion announcement isn’t the only attempt, either.
Disney recently revealed that Ms. Marvel will air in its entirety on ABC in August.
The first three episodes will be played consecutively on Saturday, August 5th. Then, the other three episodes will air the following Saturday, August 12th.
So, as long as you are home those two Saturdays or have access to DVR technology, you can watch all of Ms. Marvel.
Notably, you won’t need any kind of streaming subscription to do so, either.
Disney is trying this particular concept as a strike-buster. It’ll offer high-quality content that is new to many viewers.
Should that attempt succeed, you can safely expect more of it, especially if Hollywood’s strikes last several months.
The tactic also renews interest in The Marvels, which opens in theaters on November 10th.
An integral part of the story won’t make (as much) sense unless you’ve watched Ms. Marvel. But that’s not the only element at play here.
Disney Tries to Find the Balance
Bob Iger recently went on CNBC and revealed that he may sell his linear networks. We’re talking about several cable channels plus ABC.
Iger understands that these businesses are dying, and he hopes to leverage their remaining value for a cash influx.
However, that’s not the only potential approach. Disney may seek an investment partner instead.
That company would rather Disney keep airing its content on linear television to max revenue for all involved.
These Marvel decisions indicate that Disney is willing to drop the walls on the so-called Disney Vault if it helps.
Iger hasn’t unlocked the perfect balance for running streaming services and linear television simultaneously.
These new attempts reflect a willingness to challenge conventional wisdom about broadcasting and streaming.
Iger has demonstrated he’s ready to experiment to shake things up. And that impacts Marvel considerably.
Nobody expects Disney to drop the exclusivity on its Marvel content. However, airing some of it on linear and Hulu achieves two goals.
For Hulu, it adds more value to a subscription. Meanwhile, Marvel content reinvigorates ABC and perhaps slows its death spiral.
Of course, Disney would also like Ms. Marvel and Secret Invasion to find a larger viewing audience.
The prevailing belief is that they’re the two least-watched Marvel series on Disney+ to date.
That’s especially troubling for Secret Invasion, which cost $212 million for just six episodes!
Disney wants more return on its recent Marvel investments. So, it’s gonna try some stuff that would have seemed unimaginable during the pandemic.
Because of the writer/actor strikes, Marvel news will slow to a trickle for a while.
For the moment, we’re still getting some minor tidbits, though.
As an example, Zawe Ashton just revealed the advice fiancée Tom Hiddleston gave her about joining the MCU in The Marvels.
The best piece of wisdom was:
“If you go into this with an open heart and a great work ethic and just want to provide an amazing experience for the fans, you’ll have an amazing experience on those sets.”
That’s a lovely sentiment!
You also may have heard that Mahershala Ali has left the cast of Blade. That was an inaccurate report based on old information.
While the troubled Blade production has undoubtedly frustrated Ali, he remains attached to the project for the time being.
Should the strike last a long time, I honestly expect that statement to change, though. We’ll be reaching a point of “too little, too late.”
Meanwhile, insiders continue to stress that you shouldn’t get your hopes up for either Echo or Kraven the Hunter. Neither project is in good shape.
In more Disney+ news, the marvelous Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will debut on the service on August 2nd.
During the following week, Andrew Garfield’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will appear on August 11th. So, you can get a huge Marvel fix in August!
As for what happens after that, all I’ll say is that Marvel is bracing for the worst by stockpiling its animated content for 2024.
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Featured image: Marvel