The success of Hocus Pocus 2 as the most watched Disney+ movie of all-time with a first weekend of 2.7 billion views viewed spurred many to question whether the sequel to the near 30 year old movie should have gone theatrical, especially during a dry spell at the fall box office when theaters were desperate for it.
The thing is some of these greenlights for direct-to-Disney+ movies happened during the pandemic, when movie theaters were closed and research showed that women would be the most difficult to return to cinemas. In addition, such long-awaited sequels to female-skewing fare seemed more ripe to eventize on Disney+ versus rolling the dice theatrically.
This Friday, there’s another sequel to a beloved Disney feature, Disenchanted, which is going straight to Disney+ and skipping theaters. It’s the long-awaited follow-up to Enchanted, which arguably launched Amy Adams as a marquee draw 15 years ago. The pic grossed over $340M worldwide and landed three original song Oscar nominations.
On Crew Call today, the franchise producer Barry Josephson tells us why it took so long for a part 2; one of the great forces at the studio being Walt Disney Motion Pictures Production President Sean Bailey who always believed in the need for a sequel.
But still, with Adams and the original castmembers of James Marsden, Idina Menzel and Patrick Dempsey returning and songsmiths Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz returning, why did Disenchanted go straight to Disney+?
“This was a situational thing,” Josephson tells us, “This movie was developed as a box office movie.”
“My development toward getting a greenlight, happened right in the midst of Covid, and as our whole world was changing and where streaming became more important.”
“When I got the call, ‘What do you think of this being a streaming film?’, for me, I was excited,” the producer explains.
“I also understood there are all these streaming services, and for Disney to be the preeminent streaming family service, why not make things exclusively streaming? Two and two made four to me.”
“They did say to me, ‘you’re going to make this movie as if you’ve done it as a feature film for the box office.’ That excited me.”
“It didn’t mean we were shrinking our idea down,” he continues, “The service is spending a considerable amount of money for their subscribers.”
Adds Josephson, “It’s a period of adjustment that people need to get use to: There will be these things exclusively for streaming.”
Listen to our conversation with Josephson below: