Disney sets 2018 release date for Star Wars spin-off

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The first Star Wars movie for Disney+ will be in 2019

Disney is releasing two films each year in a new subscription service it is launching in 2022, it has announced.

The films will be separate productions with limited use of CGI in 3D, and the first will be filmed in January 2019.

It will also include live-action and animated content and exclusive pay-TV content and access to films from the film studio for streaming purposes.

The service is not expected to go live until next year.

Disney is using the same model as Netflix for the new service, but it has set aside a higher amount of content – 120 original features a year.

A separate animated film service will also debut next year.

Seth Winter, Disney Channel head, said: “Disney+ will offer fans the finest in family entertainment. Disney+ will be for everyone, whatever the age, and the service will be used for the ultimate family experience.”

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption In 2010 Disney had said it would launch a subscription service in 2016, but this never materialised

The two new Disney releases in the first year will be Star Wars: Episode IX – the finale to the new trilogy – and a live-action remake of Mary Poppins.

The news follows Disney’s acquisition of most of the assets of 21st Century Fox last year, including 20th Century Fox Studios and a clutch of studio films.

The trio’s forthcoming movie projects, and the live-action Mary Poppins is to be released in December 2018.

The streaming service includes exclusive pay-TV rights for films which Disney produced and released in the past decade as well as select historical properties and classic titles.

Image copyright Disney Image caption Disney titles for Disney+ include Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Jungle Cruise

Advance service plans

Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger said the company would adopt a “real world” service-launch model for Disney+ starting in fall 2022, with 12 million subscribers up front.

He said new online service was a natural extension for Disney and its brands, rather than a standalone media giant.

“The internet was created to deliver value to customers and deliver it in a new and more personal way,” said Iger.

“Disney+ will be an online experience that will continue to take advantages of technology to deliver on that promise, providing a premium entertainment experience for families.”

The service is going to have a programming library in the tens of thousands of titles, as well as programmes that are exclusive to it.

Disney is also expected to use some of its assets and staff to develop the service, but not all of the Fox assets.

The service would be targeted at children and families, allowing for additional exclusive content not available elsewhere.

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