Disney reportedly paid $75 million for the worldwide film rights to Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s Hamilton, and it’s not waiting around to get a return on its investment.
The company just announced that instead of the theatrical release previously scheduled for October 15, 2021, it will make the filmed version of Hamilton available to stream exclusively on Disney+ on July 3rd of this year.
Miranda announced the news on Twitter with the truly wretched hashtag Hamifilm. In the Heights, an adaptation of another one of his plays, had its release date pushed from June of this year to June of next year.
That’s a radical change — 475 days earlier on a very different platform — and potentially a sign of some concern at Disney that the disruptions caused by COVID-19 might devastate its bottom line and, perhaps more importantly, the streaming subscriber base it’s worked so hard to build.
It’s only a matter of time…
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) May 12, 2020
With production suspended on marquee Disney+ offerings — including original Marvel and Star Wars TV shows — it sure looks like Disney decided it needed a big, splashy piece of content to stay competitive in the streaming wars at least until season two of The Mandalorian comes out in October.
Bob Iger goes into his office, breaks the “in case of emergency” glass, and slams the big red button that just says “drop Hamilton”
— Jackson McHenry (@McHenryJD) May 12, 2020
With filming on Hamilton completed over the course of three performances in June 2016 — when the show still had its original cast — it was an obvious choice for early release. After all, post-production is much easier to accomplish remotely than production that requires, you know, leaving the house.
The final product will utilize something called “live capture” that Disney claims “transports its audience into the world of the Broadway show in a uniquely intimate way.” We’re not sure what precisely that means, but we won’t have to wait long to find out.
Hamilton will be available to stream on Disney+ on July 3.