Disney Plus has proved an absolute hit for Walt’s media behemoth and since it’s initial rollout, subscribers have been flocking to view its precious horde of content (54 million and counting). However, with most viewers familiar with the household TV and movie brands available on demand, just what has the streaming service got to offer in the way of new material?
Arguably, one of the strong selling points of Disney+ to potential viewers was the promise of more stories (both TV series and films) based on the beloved franchises fans are so familiar with, and the SVOD came out of the gate strongly with The Mandalorian, throwing subscribers back into a galaxy far, far away. Beyond that there was the somewhat left field The World According to Jeff Goldblum, plus the Lady and The Tramp remake, Stargirl and Timmy Failure: Mistake Were Made movies.
However, the availability of the really anticipated new content such as the continuing adventures of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and the antics of old Ben Kenobi himself have come to a crashing halt with the coronavirus induced closure of film and television production all around the globe. And while these weren’t due for many months anyway, the schedule for new releases has been thrown into chaos. A steady drip feed of new and interesting content is important in keeping subscribers coming back for more - don’t forget Disney Plus is a monthly subscription, so bored viewers can drop out at any time.
Thus, there’ve been some quick executive and creative decisions to try and get round the production drought resulting in movies due for theatrical release coming straight to the service (or at least sooner than expected, such as Pixar’s Onward) and the smash hit musical Hamilton with the original cast fast-tracked for the summer.
So, given the unexpected playing field Disney+ is facing, what does it have planned for eager subscribers for June? Let’s take a look.
Note, the programming may be subject to change depending upon territory, and even content scheduled on Disney's own UK website has the following disclaimer 'Dates and titles correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change'. Expect some of the more US oriented content such as Schoolhouse Rock to be missing from the UK service.
From the Vault
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019, Fantasy, Adventure, Family, Angelina Jolie, Michelle Pfeiffer)
Five years after the events of the first movie, Maleficent and her goddaughter Aurora begin to question the complex family ties that bind them as they are pulled in different directions by impending nuptials, missing magical creatures from the Moors, unexpected allies and dark new forces at play.
2014’s Maleficent was one of the first issues from Disney’s modern-era relentless remake machine (albeit far from a slavish retelling of Sleeping Beauty but with enough familiar characters and story to qualify) and proved a sizeable hit for its star Angelina Jolie and the House of Mouse. Mistress of Evil comes to Disney+ on the same day it also premieres on Sky Cinema and NOW TV - there were obviously some delicate negotiations at play - so fans can catch it easily enough.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013, Fantasy, Adventure, Logan Lurman, Stanley Tucci, Alexandra Daddario, Nathan Fillion)
In order to restore their dying safe haven, Percy Jackson, the son of Poseidon, and his friends embark on a quest to the Sea of Monsters, to find the mythical Golden Fleece, all the while trying to stop an ancient evil from rising.
This sequel - which is showing out of order since the first movie, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief isn't on Disney+ until 26th June (possibly territory dependent) - had a somewhat diffident response from critics who couldn't help but draw comparisons to the Harry Potter movies, which the Percy Jackson series strongly mirrors. Unfortunately for Percy, Harry's franchise tended to improve as each installment progressed, whereas the Olympus gods' chapters went in the other direction and weren't given much opportunity to turn things around - a sequel based on The Titan's Curse was planned, but never produced.
America’s Greatest Animals (2012, Documentary National Geographic)
America's Greatest Animals takes us across North America on a revelatory mission. See which of the continent's landmark creatures deserve to make the list.
Artemis Fowl (2020, Fantasy, Adventure, Family, Ferdia Shaw, Colin Farrrell, Judi Dench, Josh Gad, Dir. Kenneth Brannah)
Artemis Fowl is a 12-year-old genius and a descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds. His search for his father, who has mysteriously disappeared, brings the highly intelligent criminal prodigy into conflict with the hidden world of the fairies.
Based on the beloved YA novel by Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl has a legion of fans who will no doubt be eager for adaptations of further books in the series. Initially planned as a theatrical release, the film’s release date has been subject to a series of issues culminating in the closure of cinema’s worldwide due to the coronavirus pandemic. And although Disney has already made it clear its blockbusters will debut in theatres, no matter how long it takes, the release of such a significant production straight to subscribers’ homes will be carefully scrutinised by industry analysts.
From The Vault
The Sandlot: Heading Home (2007, Family, Sport. Luke Perry)
Successful, arrogant baseball superstar Tommy "Santa" Santorelli travels back in time to 1976 and relives his boyhood days on the sandlot baseball team, and has the chance to this time choose friendship over glory.
Walt & El Grupo (2008, Documentary)
The story of the 1941, US Government sponsored, Goodwill Tour to South America made by Walt Disney and his staff to gather material which would be used to create the two Disney animated feature films Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros.
From The Vault
Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy (2014, Animation, Family, Voices: Tom Hiddleston, Lucy Lui)
When Zarina steals Pixie Hollow's Blue Pixie Dust and flies away, Tinker Bell and her friends set out on a journey to get them back.
Toy Story of Terror! (2013 Animation, Short, Family, Voices: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack)
Woody and the gang are held up at a roadside motel and members of the group start to disappear from everywhere. Woody and Co. set about getting to the bottom of the mystery.
Toy Story That Time Forgot (2013 Animation, Short, Family, Voices: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Kristen Schaal)
It's a post-Christmas play-date and the gang find themselves trapped in unusual territory with a group of new and delusional action figures.
Like Toy Story of Terror! before it, this new Toy Story short feature's mainstays Woody and Buzz but concetrates on another supporting character - this time Kirstan Schaal's Trixie the Triceratops.
Originally planned to be a six-minute short, the idea was expanded into a holiday special which took three years to make with two years spent on story development. The team took time to design the Battlesaurs as if they were a real cartoon and toy line.
From The Vault
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010, Fantasy, Adventure, Logan Lurman, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Rosario Dawson, Dir. Chris Columbus)
Reportedly now showing on Disney+ UK.
Teenager Percy Jackson discovers he's the descendant of a Greek god when he’s accused of stealing Zeus’ lightning bolt. Caught between the battling titans of Mt. Olympus. He and his friends embark on a cross-country adventure to catch the true lightning thief, save Percy's mom, and unravel a mystery more powerful than the gods themselves.
Meeting a hail of indifference from critics and publicly criticized by the source novel’s author, Rick Riordan, the movie nonetheless scored a decent opening weekend and spawned the Sea of Monsters sequel (showing from June 5th).
Riordan recently confirmed that plans for a TV series based on the books are going ahead at Disney+ and his involvement will enable an adaptation more in keeping with the source material.
Tarzan (1999, Animated, Adventure, Family. Voices: Tony Goldwyn, Minnie Driver, Brian Blessed, Rosie O’Donnell)
Reportedly now showing on Disney+ UK.
After his parents are killed in the jungle, a baby boy is raised by a troupe of gorillas and becomes Tarzan, a man at one with nature. But his peaceful and sheltered world is turned upside down by the arrival of a human expedition, which includes the dynamic and beautiful Jane, to whom Tarzan is drawn. A clash of cultures means the Lord of The Jungle must decide where he really belongs.
Featuring songs by Phil Collins (c;'mon, there's gotta be songs, it’s a Disney cartoon remember) and some rousing action set pieces plus humour to puncture the darker moments of loss and the examination of family relationships, Tarzan is often forgotten about in the wake of The Lion King but is a worthy entry in the Disney canon.
Tarzan II (2005, Animated, Adventure, Family. Voices: Lance Henriksen, Glenn Close, George Carlin)
The tale of Tarzan's misadventures as a boy as he searches for his true identity and the meaning of family.
As was Disney’s approach at the time, each theatrically released animated future ‘classic’ had a direct to video sequel to capitalise on the home market. Sometimes known as Tarzan II: The Legend Begins, this was the follow up to 1999’s Tarzan and kept some of the major voice cast from the original to lend an air of authenticity, plus Phil Collins returns with two new songs... to not.
Be Our Chef Episode 111 (Finale) “The Spectacular”
The finalists go head to head to see who is crowned the winner in this themed cooking challenge at Walt Disney World.
Disney Family Sundays Episode 131, 101 Dalmations “Onesie”
Arts and craft series in which classic Disney characters and stories serve to get the creative juices flowing.
Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian Episode 106 “Visualization”
The final three episodes of the behind the scenes specials looking at the making of Disney Plus’s The Mandalorian Star Wars spin off lands this month. Episode 6 examines how the series drew on classic Western and Samurai films for its look and style.
Disney Insider Episode 106 “Artemis Adventure, Tastes of Disney, Runaway Railway”
Features a look at the Irish countryside with Artemis Fowl author Eoin Colfer, how the Epcot’s Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue was created, and how Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios was built.
It’s a Dog’s Life with Bill Farmer Episode 104 “Disaster Rescue Dogs & A Dog Mayor”
Voice artist Bill Farmer (the current tonsils behind Goofy) tells the stories of working dogs across the United States while educating viewers on responsible pet care.
One Day At Disney Episode 127 “George Montano: Plasterer”
The series of shorts continues its look at Disney employees, this week plasterer George Montano explains the construction behind Disney Park attractions.
From The Vault
Alaska’s Grizzly Gauntlet (2018, S1, National Geographic)
Camera man and survivalist Les Stroud takes you on a daunting journey through the Kodiak wilderness, exploring the survival methods and social structure of the magnificent Kodiak brown bear.
Chasing the Equinox (2020)
Documentary examining how ancient civilizations built iconic monuments that align with the sun on the same day.
Finding Atlantis (2011, National Geographic)
Could the fabled lost city of Atlantis have been located? Using satellite photography, ground-penetrating radar and underwater technology, Finding Atlantis shows how the pursuit to find the lost civilisation discovered a stela that may have stood at the entrance to the fabled city.
Genius by Stephen Hawking (2016, S1)
This series helps ordinary people understand the science behind the big questions of life the universe and time travel. Hosted by the late Prof. himself, 6 episodes were made in total (Ep1: Can We Time Travel? Ep2: Are We Alone?, Ep3: Why Are We Here?, Ep4: Where Did the Universe Come From?, Ep5: What Are We?, Ep6: Where Are We?)
Hostile Planet (2019, S1, National Geographic)
A look at the world's harshest landscapes and the animals that have adapted to live there. Narrated by Bear Grylls. Consists of 6 episodes.
Howie Mandel's Animals Doing Things (2018-, S1-2)
Home video clip show of funny animals doing funnier things.
Japan: Between Earth and Sky (2020, S1)
Drone photography capture the stunning landscapes of one of the most beautiful countries on the planet.
Lost City of Machu Picchu (2020)
Secrets of Wild India (2012, S1. National Geographic)
Each chapter is named after an iconic species (Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, Asian lion) of India's remaining wildlife. Each also draws a more general picture of a type of biotope in another corner of the Indian subcontinent (jungle, Himalayas, desert).
The Greeks (2016, S1)
They invented democracy, distilled logic and reason, wrote plays to plumb the deepest recesses of the soul, and captured the perfection of the human form in athletics and art. Quite simply, the Greeks created our world. The series takes an in depth look at how strife and discord led to the birth of a classical civilisation and democracy.
Weird but True! (2016 - 2018, S1-2)
A series that looks at the fun and curious ways our world works. From searching for space rocks in Arizona to meeting some seriously cool dogs in Alaska - no topic is off limits.
Wild Hawaii (2014, S1)
From its hot molten core to the mega sized waves battering its coast, Hawaii is an untamed and very wild bit of paradise that continues to transform itself and challenge expectations. Join J.K Simmons on a voyage through this unique environment.
Women of Impact: Changing the World (2019, National Geographic)
This documentary starts with a simple question: How will you make the world a better place? From household names to rising stars, meet the women who are changing our world.
Marvel’s Hero Project (2019-, new episode every Friday)
This 20-episode series shares the remarkable, positive change several young heroes are making in their own communities across the country. These inspiring kids have dedicated their lives to selfless acts of bravery and kindness, and now, Marvel celebrates them as the true Super Heroes.
Disney Family Sundays Episode 132 “Winnie the Pooh: Bag Toss”
Amber Kemp Gerstel hosts a crafting show bringing families together through the world of Disney inspired DIYs. This week, a game inspired by the creatures of the Hundred Acre Wood.
Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian Episode 107 “Score”
This week’s episode looks at how Ludwig Göransson created the music for the Star Wars spin off series.
It’s a Dog’s Life with Bill Farmer Episode 105 “The Surfing Corgi & Bee Dogs”
Another weekly look at the often bizarre antics of the canine world with Goofy voice artist (meant in the nicest possible way of course) Bill Farmer.
One Day At Disney Episode 128 “Scott Drake: Imagineering Creative”
The work of Disney employees continues with a look at how MCU’s incredible worlds are recreated for superhero experiences at Disney’s theme parks.
From The Vault
The Liberty Story (1957, The Magical World of Disney)
A combination live-action and animated drama tells the story of America's historical fight for freedom. Including a segment depicting the Boston Tea Party and the battle at Concord.
Primal Survivor (2016-17, S1-2)
Primal Survivor tracks wilderness guide and survival instructor Hazen Audel as he tackles some of mankind's most rigorous journeys, relying on skills learned from native inhabitants. After first living with the locals to understand their way of life, he sets out on solo journeys through territories that push him to his very limits.
The Story of the Animated Drawing (1955, The Magical World of Disney)
Walt Disney himself discusses the history of animation and animation techniques throughout the ages.
Mighty Med (2013-15, S1-2)
When two comic book fanboys discover a secret hospital for superheroes, they're offered the job of a lifetime and get the chance to "save the people who save people."
Disney Family Sundays Episode 133 “Monsters Inc. Water Bottles”
Mike, Sully and the denizens of Monsters Inc are the inspiration for this week’s project.
Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian Episode 108 (Finale) “Connections”
The final behind the scenes look at Jon Favreau’s Star Wars spin off examines the efforts the production undertook to tie in The Mandalorian to the larger Star Wars' universe.
Dog’s Life with Bill Farmer Episode 106 “Stunt Dogs & Water Rescue Dogs”
The picture says it all really.
One Day At Disney Episode 129 “Candice Valdez: Radio Disney Host”
Radio host Candice gets her 15 minutes of fame (which is not bad considering these shorts are only about 5 mins long).
From The Vault
Muppet Babies Play Date (2019-, S1)
Short form series that premiered on the Disney Junior YouTube channel in 2019. The series featured the characters from Disney Junior's Muppet Babies reboot reimagined as puppets interacting with live children.
Schoolhouse Rock (1973-, S1)
A series of shorts illustrating various songs that teach multiplication tables, grammar, science, American history, computers, economics, and environmentalism.
101 Dalmatians: The Series (1997, S1)
Lucky, Cadpig, Rolly, and Spot have a series of adventures around the Dalmatian Plantation, the farm where the dalmatians relocated after the end of the film.
Big Sur: Wild California (2010, National Geographic)
National Geographic presents a comprehensive view of the spectacular California coastal area known as Big Sur through the eyes of three intrinsically connected native creatures: condors, sea otters and mountain lions.
Egypt's Treasure Guardians (2016)
This programme follows a select cast of individuals determined to bring Egypt back from the brink, to discover more of Egypt's history, to keep its heritage safe and to get tourists to visit the country again.
Unlikely Animal Friends (2012, S3 National Geographic)
The natural world is full of amazing stories, but sometimes animals act in ways that seemingly go against all their instincts. This heart-warming series examines the cases of animals that have struck up unusual relationships.
Into the Unknown: Making Frozen II (Ep1-6 all episodes available)
The six-part documentary series follows the filmmakers, artists, songwriters and cast as they create the long-awaited sequel to the original 2013 Disney animated feature.
A.N.T Farm (2011-14, S1-3)
Teen comedy which follows the adventures of a musical prodigy and her friends in the gifted program called Advanced Natural Talents at the local high school.
Disney Family Sundays Episode 134 “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”
Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go… another family undertakes a Disney craft project.
It’s a Dog’s Life with Bill Farmer Episode 107 “Detective Dogs & Truffle Hunting Dogs”
Bill meets a canine Ace Ventura and a pooch with a nose for the finer things.
One Day At Disney Episode 130 “Marc Smith: Story Artist”
Director of Story for Frozen II, Marc Smith, shows how to bring out the emotion of a narrative using drawing.
From The Vault
Man in Space (1955, The Magical World of Disney)
With a combination of documentary footage and animation, the science and history of rockets, and the effects of space travel on man are illustrated.
Mars and Beyond (1957, The Magical World of Disney)
Walt Disney, and his robot friend Garco, examines mankind’s unravelling of the mystery of the stars, culminating in a journey through the solar system and a look at whether Mars could support life, using striking, inventive and decidedly atypical Disney animation.
Raven’s Home (2019, S3)
Though Raven Baxter is psychic, she would've never have guessed she'd be a single mother living in an apartment with her twins, son and best friend Chelsea. Family sitcom spin off series from That’s So Raven (2003-2007)
So that’s it for June. As Disney mines its virtually bottomless vaults, we look forward to what’s coming when production schedules are back on track. On the plus side, the animated What If…? show, where significant events and characters from the MCU are turned on their head courtesy of a “What if something had happened differently” narrative device, shouldn’t be too badly affected - after all can’t animators work from home? Perhaps the first episode ought to be “What If … the world was affected by a pandemic?”
Source: DenOfGeek, IMBD, Wikipedia, Disney.co.uk
Image Source: Google