Why Disney surprised everyone with the express release of Moana 2

Why Disney surprised everyone with the express release of Moana 2

Planned as a series for streaming and Disney +, the sequel to Moana will finally land in theaters, to help the studio get back on track.

In 2020, Disney announced to fans of Moana the transposition of the famous animated film into a series for the small screen, intended for its Disney Plus platform. Four years later, the studio changes its tune and draws Moana 2, to everyone’s surprise! But why such a turnaround?

Because the work is already done

If Disney is taking the liberty of announcing a huge event for next November (in barely 10 months!) it is because the film is already in the can. The studio’s animators have been working on the sequel to Moana serial. “We were impressed by what we saw,” explained boss Bob Iger to his shareholders this week. “We thought it deserved a theatrical release.” Instead of being released in series on Disney Plus at the end of the year, the episodes will simply be reassembled to make a feature film in the cinema: Moana 2.

Because Disney needs to boost its box office

The movie year 2023 was not happy for the studio, which lost leadership in Hollywood for the first time since 2015 (beaten by Universal). The fault of the flops The Marvels, The haunted house and especially wish. The last Disney Christmas had the studio’s worst score in ages (only $230 million in revenue worldwide). As is often the case in these cases, the industry turns to safe values ​​to get back on track. The studio is putting a stop to original ideas and is pushing back on the sequels for the upcoming end-of-year holidays: Moana 2 will precede Zootopia 2 And Frozen 3.

Because Moana is still a beloved film

If the film only made 600 million in 2016 at the global box office, the “Moana” brand (from its original title) continues. Vaiana, the legend of the end of the world is a high-quality feature film that still appeals to new generations. So much so that in 2023, all platforms combined, Moana was the most viewed film in streaming in the United States (via Disney+) with 11.6 billion minutes viewed. Disney has every interest in riding the phenomenon, but also in focusing again on quality films, which can last over time and resonate with new generations.

Because the streaming madness is over

Disney Plus is still not a profitable platform and the group continues to reduce its investments there. The studio is looking for the right balance with cinema, but clearly no longer intends to burn out its big cartridges in an attempt to boost its Disney Plus. Two years ago, Moana 2 would certainly have remained a series, but the tide has turned today. “Disney’s strategy is no longer about spending a lot of money on streaming in the hope of attracting subscribers. explains Eric Handler, senior research analyst at Roth MKM, interviewed by Variety. “They are now asking: how can we maximize revenue and profitability ” And this is how Bob Iger decided to exfiltrate Moana 2 to put it back in theaters.

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