Disney+ pulls a Netflix, hikes its subscription price

Prepare to cough up an extra buck for Disney+, starting next year.

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Mega media conglomerate Disney just unloaded a truckload of new Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar movies and TV shows that are headed for Disney+, including vehicles for everyone from Loki and the Winter Soldier to Lando and Obi Wan Kenobi. Also coming to Disney+: a price hike.

Following in the footsteps of Netflix, which raised the prices of its standard and premium subscription plans a little more than a month ago, Disney says that it will boost the monthly price for its wildly successful Disney+ subscription service starting next year.

Beginning on March 26, the monthly price for a Disney+ subscription will be $7.99, up $1 from its current $6.99 monthly rate. At the same time, the annual rate for Disney+ will rise from $69.99 to $79.99, while a bundle that includes Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu with ads will increase from $12.99 a month to $13.99/month.

Alongside the news of the Disney+ price hike comes word that the service has nabbed a whopping 86.8 million subscribers since launching a mere year ago, an eye-popping figure by any standard. No wonder Disney feels comfortable about upping Disney+’s subscription price.

Disney announced the price hike at its annual investors presentation on Thursday, but not before promoting a parade of new movies and TV shows, many of which will (surprise!) debut on Disney+.

Among the notables are Ahsoka, a live-action show based on the popular Star Wars: The Clone Wars character; Rangers of the New Republic, a Mandalorian spin-off; Obi-Wan Kenobi, an eagerly awaited Star Wars show starring none other than Ewan McGregor; Lando, about the further adventures of Han’s old buddy; The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, a six-episode series centered around the two Marvel heroes; Loki, another Marvel spinoff starring the God of Mischief himself; and Hawkeye, starring Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld. I’m not even mentioning all the shows coming from Walt Disney Studios and Pixar.

Besides the news of all the TV shows coming to Disney+, it’s also notable what isn’t heading straight to the streaming service. Black Widow, Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings, and Eternals, three of Disney’s upcoming cinematic tentpoles, are still slated to debut exclusively in theaters next year.

That means Disney isn’t following the lead of Warner Bros., which rocked Hollywood with its bombshell announcement last week that it would open all its 2021 movies in theaters and on HBO Max at the same time due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

That said, Raya and the Last Dragon from Walt Disney Animation Studios will debut both in theaters and on Disney+, with the movie set to be another $30 “Premier Access” title (same as Mulan) when it arrives this coming spring.

Also heading straight to Disney+ will be Pinocchio, starring Tom Hanks and directed by Robert Zemeckis, and Peter Pan and Wendy, starring Jude Law. Both of those movies are still in production.

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