Disney Resurrecting An Early-90s Cult-Classic Musical

Disney+ Day is bringing some of the streamer’s most popular films back to theaters — among them is one peculiar choice.

It’s a very busy time in the world of streaming right now. Competition for subscriber dollars is tougher than ever with new services popping up left and right over the last few years. It all started with Netflix  (NFLX) – Get Netflix Inc. Report, which has since built up various universes and Tudum, a method for introducing behind-the-scenes teaser content. Before the merger of Warner Bros. Discovery  (WBD) – Get Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. Report, formerly-WB property, DC comics hosted the FanDome, an online streaming event previewing the legendary comic book publisher’s upcoming screen debuts.

Now Disney+ is joining all the event fun with the upcoming Disney+ Day event. It’ll be a day to celebrate all of the new and exciting things happening for several of Disney’s many franchises. Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel, and more will join in the celebration with fan-favorite goodies from each corner of the House of Mouse. The service will see the release of new projects to streaming, including the newest ‘Thor’ movie ‘Love & Thunder’ and Guillermo del Toro’s highly anticipated adaptation of the classic fairy tale ‘Pinocchio’. There will also be intimate looks at behind-the-scenes content from popular shows like ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’. 

Meanwhile, fans who subscribe to Disney+ and visit the parks during Disney+ Day will be able to snag exclusive snacks, photo ops, and merchandise on the new Mouse holiday. And if you can’t make it to a park, you may be able to celebrate Disney+ Day in your own local AMC  (AMC) – Get AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. Class A Report theater. Disney is bringing several beloved films back to theaters specifically to celebrate the occasion. Marvel’s ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, Disney’s newest breakthrough hit ‘Encanto’, Star Wars’ ‘Rogue One’, and Pixar’s hit ‘Cars’ are among the movies that will be returning to theaters for one day this September. And alongside them is one of Disney’s older movies that looks like a more unusual choice.

Disney+ Day is Bringing ‘Newsies’ Back to Theaters

Nestled in a list of some of Disney’s most marketable films is a musical that has garnered something of a cult following over the years. ‘Newsies’ is a 1992 live-action musical starring Christian Bale as the charismatic leader of New York City’s newsboys at the turn of the 19th-20th century. The story was adapted from a dramatic screenplay about the historical newsboys strike and unionization against Joseph Pulitzer and other newspaper moguls of the time.

When the film first first premiered in 1992, it was met with lukewarm reviews and box office numbers. It was the first live-action musical of its kind, featuring original music by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman. At the time, this kind of production was unheard of, and despite the commercial success of several animated musicals, live-action song-and-dance films just weren’t in fashion. Still, as years grew between the film’s debut and the modern day, a loyal fanbase grew for the film. Eventually, the show was retooled for a successful run on Broadway after creators noticed unlicensed versions of the show popping up all across the country.

This year, the film and all of its original music will be celebrating its 30th anniversary — and it’s doing so with a theatrical re-release. As the fanbase for the show and subsequent musical has grown over the years, Disney may be hoping that this film’s rerelease will give it a small theatrical redemption.

Disney+ Day Aims To Bring In More Revenue

Disney+ Day comes right on the heels of Disney beating out Netflix  (NFLX) – Get Netflix Inc. Report for subscriber count thanks to 14 million new users in the latest quarter. Disney, which also boosts its subscriber numbers thanks to subsidiaries Hulu and ESPN, delighted investors by posting better-than-expected earnings in their last quarter. A major event like Disney+ Day will likely see increased opportunities for revenue with these event screenings and exclusive events. 

Disney, of course, is no stranger to the success of including popular musicals in their streaming lineup. In 2020, fans all across the world tuned in to the streaming service to enjoy the first on-screen presentation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s breakout Broadway hit ‘Hamilton’. Disney reportedly purchased the rights to the play to the tune of $75M. The deal brought many fans to the streaming service who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to see the popular musical in person, and the move also brought Miranda into the Disney fold.  

While it’s unlikely that Disney plans to build more content on top of its beloved ‘Newsies’ IP, the company is clearly poised to make a little extra coin off of the nostalgia held by longtime fans of the show. And who knows? In an era where employees from food service to tech are looking toward unionization as a way to communicate their needs to large mega-corporations like Starbucks  (SBUX) – Get Starbucks Corporation Report and Amazon  (AMZN) – Get Amazon.com Inc. Report , the ‘Newsies’ storyline may be more ripe for a remake than even Disney anticipates.

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