In light of the current state of theater-going, Disney has made the groundbreaking decision to release popular musical Hamilton, making it available for streaming on Disney+ this year.
This groundbreaking decision is huge for fans of the musical for a variety of reasons. Initially, a 2016 recording of the original cast performing the popular and record-breaking musical was set for release in October of 2021.Read More »
Global Theater Closures
However, the planned release dates of many films were thrown off entirely due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and the global pandemic that ensued. Disney Plus, the home streaming service launched by The Walt Disney Company in November 2019, was quick to adapt to the new state of moviegoing.
With the closure of theaters, Disney Plus was quick to release hits such as Frozen 2 and Onward on the streaming service. This move was practically unprecedented, although many other films quickly followed suit, making the leap to digital rather than delay their theatrical release.
Disney’s decision to bump up the release of Hamilton to their digital platform was a surprising but welcome one. Releasing it about a year and a half earlier than originally intended, and digitally, was a great surprise to fans of the musical.
A Struggling Platform
This decision seems to have less to do with Disney having anticipated not being able to release it in theaters next year, but rather to do with Disney’s own plans for the Disney Plus platform.
After releasing its smash hit The Mandalorian last year, coinciding with the creation of the platform, Disney Plus has experienced slight criticism for its lack of content. Aside from its massive backlog of classic Disney features, ABC Family shows, and a smattering of original content, subscribers were left feeling as though they were not getting the most bang for their buck.
This is potentially where Disney making the leap to digital during the pandemic changed Disney’s rationale behind how they choose to use their platform – for the better. Coinciding with the beginning of mass quarantines all over the world, parents around the world were likely thankful for Disney’s choice to move Frozen 2 to its streaming platform.
While the sentiment could easily be seen as opportunistic, the idea that everyone could use some extra entertainment while stuck at home can also be viewed as a wholesome one.
Disney’s decision to release more content on its streaming platform has been received favorably, especially by those who have long felt they have not gotten the best value for their subscription.
Moreover, Disney’s willingness to release a lauded musical such as Hamilton as one of its key features is a welcome one.
Hamilton Will Not Be Censored
While Disney Plus has come under some criticism for editing a few family movies in order to make them PG, Hamilton creator Lin Manuel Miranda has now gone on record as saying every original line has stayed in this release – including two swears.
This is huge for Disney Plus, as its frequent censorship has become a large concern for older audiences hoping for more mature content to be featured on the platform. Most notably, the canceled revival of Disney’s hit show Lizzie McGuire, seemingly for its mature storylines and subject matter, received blowback from a large part of the platform’s consumer base.
While most streaming platforms work around mature content by adding age restrictions to accounts, Disney Plus seems hesitant to restrict its content. While focusing on being kid-friendly, many feel the platform has gone slightly overboard.
Disney’s decision to release an uncensored version of the relatively tame, PG-13 production of Hamilton is still a step in the right direction for the platform.
No More Free Trials
The smash-hit musical is slated to draw in a huge boom of older viewers. Seemingly anticipating this, Disney has halted access to 7-day free trials of the service. This means that Hamilton fans who desperately want to view the musical as soon as it’s released will first need to pay for the platform.
A Historic Release for Hamilton Fans
For many Hamilton fans, this streaming release marks an event they may not have believed they would experience in their lifetime. While the musical still frequently toured before Covid-19, fans of the musical are currently left in the lurch as to when they will safely be able to see a live production of the musical.
What’s more, releasing a film-quality version of the musical featuring the original cast has never before been done, marking its July 3, 2020 release as historic.
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