Examining the Disney+ ‘Leak’ Revealing a Black Widow Streaming Announcement and MCU Series Release Dates

A tantalising promotional video that previews the future of the Disney+ streaming service has been kicking around online, but is there any truth to it?

Scarlett Johannson as Marvel's Black Widow
Photo: Marvel Studios

Ahead of Disney’s planned investors call on December 10, an apparently ‘leaked’ video doing the rounds online purports to reveal some big 2021 announcements for the company’s streaming service.

The video, the authenticity of which has not been substantiated, arrived after it was noted that streaming content would become Disney’s primary focus. It’s packed with future Disney+ release dates, including that of MCU spinoff series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier apparently set for a weekly rollout from August 13, and a “premier access” streaming date for Marvel’s delayed standalone Black Widow movie on April 16. Crucially, it also unveils a plan to launch an 18+ component that would include the likes of Deadpool, Logan, and other Fox acquisitions that Disney are farming out to Hulu.

If even partially legit – and that’s a biiiiiig ‘if’ – this would open up a world of possibilities for the streaming service that currently remain just out of reach, summed up by the video’s closing promise of “everything comes home.” Disney+ would be able to incorporate its adult content into an already hugely successful platform, tempt customers to keep their subscriptions active with new Marvel content beyond January’s WandaVision, and potentially pave the way for a largely ‘justifiable’ price hike.

But wait. Hold your horses, because a closer examination of both the video itself and another Disney+ rumor in the wind might help keep you on the cautious side.

We went through the promotional ‘leak’ and at least two things didn’t add up: it claims the 18+ Disney+ element won’t launch until April 2021, but also states that the R-rated Kingsman: The Secret Service will be streaming before then, on March 5, while The Falcon and the Winter Solider getting another year-matching August premiere date doesn’t make a lot of sense either, as it seems unlikely it would take that long to arrive. Simple mistakes made while juggling possible placeholder dates? Or dead giveaways?

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There’s also some news that came to light back in August – that Disney was planning to launch a different international streaming service using its Star brand. Interest in this has been whipped up in the last few days by various sites using a screenshot of a ‘verified’ Instagram account called @disneyplusstar. For what it’s worth, though, even a quick glance at the account confirms it is NOT verified, and therefore said screenshot is either fake, or a can of worms not worth opening yet.

While intrigued fans tried to establish whether the video was entirely fake, Amazon Studios’ former head of strategy, Matthew Ball, delved into what the supposed ‘leak’ video could mean for the streaming service – and Disney‘s outlook in general – if it turns out to be an official state of play.

“Been asked about this “leaked” Disney+ trailer for Disney’s Dec. 10 Investor Day,” he wrote. “It feels real to me, though I get skepticism. If true, it would be a HUGE value unlock for Disney. Which is why it feels so real to me. Fixes ARPU, engagement, theatrical + COVID, TAM, Fox.”

Ball added in his lengthy thread that the trailer “might be a great fake” or “just for abroad (where no Hulu). But it makes so much sense (more revenue, more subscribers, more engagement, simpler offering) for Disney and viewers.”

We’ll be keeping a close eye on that Disney investors call in early December, but its streaming service might well be ready to bring everything “home” in 2021, including some of those blockbuster movies that have been sat on the shelf during the events of 2020.

The pandemic won’t be over in a day – it will take a long period of time to make theatres viable again, especially with older people among the first in line for a vaccine, and Disney likely knows that they’ll have to roll with the punches for now.

Until then? Roll on, December 10.

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