To the surprise of no one, the musical phenomenon that is Hamilton is breaking expectations when viewed from the comfort of one’s home, just as it did on Broadway.
Recent data suggests that the show, which follows the story of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, from his youth to the infamous duel that ended his life, has proven to be extremely popular on Disney+. Those subscribers downloaded the streaming service’s app a whopping 752,451 times over the course of the weekend of Hamilton‘s release.
For Disney, which paid $75 million dollars just to acquire the rights to the Hamilton musical film (in what was described as the most expensive film acquisition ever brokered), this news will be a welcome relief. The decision to move the musical, from a planned theatrical release to the Disney+ streaming platform was a big risk. This is likely what caused Disney to remove the service’s one-week free trial last month, in an attempt to try and convince potential customers to pay full price in order to see Hamilton.
That business move, while controversial, appears to have paid off.
It’s impossible to say just how many of the people downloading the Disney+ app over the weekend of July 3rd through July 5th were downloading it solely because of Hamilton, but Disney+ has very little other new content that could account for such a sudden uptick in the numbers. (Which is something Disney will want to remedy as quickly as possible. Seeing as those people who did download the app just for Hamilton, may not feel the need to stick around once they’ve watched and rewatched the musical a couple times).
WHAT DOES HAMILTON‘S SUCCESS MEAN FOR THE FUTURE?
Now that we can say with almost complete certainty that Hamilton has proven to be a massive hit for Disney, it’s time to start contemplating what comes next.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the musical’s creator and original star, already has a good working relationship with the studio, having worked with them on Moana and Mary Poppins Returns. He will soon add The Little Mermaid and an as-yet-untitled Disney animated film to that steadily growing list of collaborative projects.
While Daveed Diggs, who portrayed Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in the show, will voice roles in both the upcoming Pixar release Soul and The Little Mermaid, where he will play Ariel’s sidekick, Sebastian. But will Disney ever consider repeating the winning formula that made Hamilton the talk of the town? Will they ever film another musical and put it on the Disney+ service?
There’s certainly no shortage of Disney musicals that could, potentially, make their way to streaming. The Broadway adaptations of The Lion King, Frozen and Aladdin have all been hugely successful, and each puts their own fresh spin on the source material that differentiates them from the original animated films. Making them must-sees for the avid fan that doesn’t have the ability to see them live. (At the moment, it would be a little difficult to see any musicals live, considering Broadway and most other theaters are closed down due to coronavirus).
Then again, with a show like The Lion King, which still plans on returning to Broadway after the pandemic, having a more cost-effective version of the exact same production readily available to people around the world might not be such a great business move. But for something like Frozen, which was canceled earlier this year, it could be a way to immortalize the show and have it go out on a high note.
What do you make of Hamilton‘s success, and do you think Disney will try to achieve it again with another musical adaptation? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.