Every Friday is drop day for Disney+ and on those days in August we'll get to see the documentary Howard, Disney original The One and Only Ivan and a second Phineas and Ferb movie arrive on the UK service.
Since Disney Plus’s UK launch, just after the lockdown officially kicked off on 23rd March, UK subscribers have had 4 months to get used to the monthly release patterns that sees the occasional Friday Disney+ exclusive arrive, accompanied by a handful of diverting Disney fluff and fun.
Certainly, the amount of high profile and original TV shows is not on the scale of streaming leader Netflix and the parade of inward looking ‘behind-the-scenes’ and ‘making-ofs’ can only get you so far.
Now, as Disney’s own pipeline of shows based on its lucrative IP is still some way from squeezing out a completed series to placate its millions of subscribers, August looks like it will continue in the vein of previous months.
There’s the big movie release originally scheduled for a 2020 theatrical run but debuting instead on streaming in the form of The One and Only Ivan, while Howard is a documentary about the late Howard Ashman who was the lyricist for several of Disney’s animation classics, and also Weird But True, a docuseries designed to spark the imagination of kids and teens.
And of course, lest we forget, when original content gets a bit lean, Disney has its impressive library of movies to fall back on.
Disney’s release schedules don’t necessarily line up across all its territories yet so the UK service may not get everything day and date that its sister services elsewhere get, meaning some months are leaner than others, nonetheless we’ll try to keep listings as UK-centric as possible.
Magic Camp (2020, Disney Original, Comedy, Family, Fantasy. Adam Devine, Gillian Jacobs)
Andy is a struggling illusionist and, at 35, is frustrated and depressed by the direction his career has taken. At the behest of his former mentor, he returns to the secluded mountain retreat where he trained as a conjuror in order to inspire the current cohort of budding magicians - it might just reignite his own career in the process too. Things don’t get off to a good start when he discovers the youngsters are clueless and his former partner and professional rival, Christina Darkwood is also there as a counsellor. Can Andy knock his budding artists into shape for the Institute’s annual Top Hat magic contest?
C'mon, it’s Disney y’all.
Based on a story by comedy legend Steve Martin, the film has been ready for release for a few years but was earmarked as a Disney+ exclusive as early as Feb 2018.
The One and Only Ivan (2020, Disney Original, Family, Adventure. Bryan Cranston, Voices: Sam Rockwell, Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren, Danny DeVito)
A 400 pound silverback gorilla named Ivan, shares a communal habitat at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade with an aging elephant called Stella, and Bob the dog. None of them has any recollection of how they ended up there but when a recently arrived baby elephant, who was separated from her family in the wild, arrives and sparks long suppressed memories in Ivan, he starts to piece together his past. Now, the animals hatch a plan to escape from captivity and Ivan has to decide who he is, what he wants and where he wants to be.
The One and Only Ivan is based on the best-selling and award winning children's book by Katherine Applegate about friendship, home and belonging and features a screenplay by Jack Black’s producing partner, Mike White. At one point tipped to have Mike Newell direct, one time Southwark Playhouse artistic director Thea Sharrock came onboard to helm.
Update 10-Aug-2020: From The Vault
Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension (2011, Animated, Action, Adventure. Voices: Vincent Martella, Ashley Tisdale, Thomas Brodie-Sangster)
Phineas and Ferb discover that Perry is a secret agent, and they all get stuck in an alternate dimension where Doofenschmirtz is the ruler of the tri-state area.
Set during the third season of the animated show, Across the 2nd Dimension is the duo’s first feature length outing.
Update 10-Aug-2020: From The Vault
X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019, Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Sophie Turner, Dir. Simon Kinberg)
During a rescue mission in space, Jean is nearly killed when she is hit by a mysterious cosmic force. On returning home, this force not only makes her infinitely more powerful, but far more unstable. As Jean succumbs to the Dark Phoenix, unleashing her powers in ways she can neither comprehend nor control, the X-Men must decide whether to save or sacrifice her for the sake of humanity.
After Simon Kinberg’s efforts to bring Chris Claremont and John Byrne's classic The Dark Phoenix Saga to screens as co-screenwriter on X-Men: The Last Stand were largely met with indifference, he was given a second bite of the cherry as director for this version. Despite huge love for the comic book story, cinema audiences reacted pretty much as they had back in 2006 and Fox’s franchise was done and dusted (hang on… dusted?... that’s the Avengers!) as Disney took the reins.
Updated 10th Aug - Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe (2020, Animation, Adventure, Comedy. Voices: Vincent Martella, Ashley Tisdale, David Errigo Jr.)
Phineas and Ferb’s long summer of adventure continues and the stepbrother inventors know what they're gonna do today. They're gonna rescue their sister after she’s abducted by aliens. But does Candace want to be rescued? After all, she’s way across the galaxy in a far-off utopian planet, free of her pesky little brothers.
Slotting in before the final episode of the last series and the events of spin off series Milo Murphy’s Law, Phineas and Ferb: Candace Against the Universe was actually commissioned for Disney+ while the streaming service was still in development.
Disney Television Animation was temporarily closed in response to Covid-19 and final production, including many line readings and animation touches, continued remotely at home until production officially wrapped on 11th July 2020.
All four seasons of the Phineas and Ferb animated series should be available on Disney+ in August too, along with Phineas and Ferb Mission Marvel, Phineas and Ferb Star Wars and Take Two with Phineas and Ferb.
Howard (2018, Disney Original Documentary)
The untold story of songwriter Howard Ashman who adapted Roger Corman’s Little Shop of Horrors for the stage and penned lyrics for Disney’s resurgent trio of classics The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast before he tragically succumbed to AIDS at the height of the crisis in 1991, aged only 40.
Honouring his immensely talented friend and colleague is fellow producer Don Hahn who directs this look at Ashman, starting with his early life in Baltimore, his time in New York and success with Disney in Los Angeles. Featuring never-before-seen archival footage, personal films and photographs, as well as interviews with Howard’s friends and family, the film is an intimate look at the Disney legend’s life, his creative drive, and the process behind the music.
Here’s hoping that that Howard provides a fitting tribute to a musical hero's life and legacy. Ashman received the most number of posthumous Academy Award nominations ever and won for the title song from Beauty and the Beast.
Update: 10th Aug - The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder (2020, Disney+ Original)
Disney is reviving its The Proud Family animated sitcom from the early 2000s with a new series subtitled Louder and Prouder which focuses on fourteen year old Penny Proud as she tries to gain her independence while facing typical teen experiences in Junior High. For this reboot, Penny's family, which includes parents Trudy and Oscar and her grandma Sugar Mama, are joined by Maya Leibowitz-Jenkins, a 14 year old activist voiced by new cast member, Keke Palmer.
Weird But True (2020, National Geographic Original Series S3)
Children’s entertainers and educators Charlie Engelman and Carly Ciarrocchi host the third season of the Emmy Award-winning series Weird But True! and this time, they’re embarking on even more imaginative and strange adventures to reveal surprising and interesting facts about the world. Set both in studio and in the field, Weird But True! is a 13-episode series that integrates a mix of arts and crafts, unbelievable facts and real-life exploration to spark the interest and imagination of kids. This season takes a closer look at national parks, trains, venomous animals, the solar system and more, and each episode will feature a guest expert to guide Charlie, Carly and the kids through the weirdness straight to the truth.
Today’s opening episode is dedicated to dinosaurs as the presenters go on a fascinating journey to Dinosaur National Monument.
Movies From the Vault Confirmed for Disney+ US:
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010, Action, Adventure, Fantasy. Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Dir. Mike Newell)
A young fugitive prince and princess must stop a villain who unknowingly threatens to destroy the world with a special dagger that enables the magic sand inside to reverse time.
The Peanuts Movie (2015, Animation, Comedy, Family. Voices: Noah Schnapp, Rebecca Bloom)
In the first big screen outing for Charles Schultz’s Peanuts crew, Charlie Brown, the eternal optimist, embarks on a heroic quest, while his beagle pal Snoopy takes to the skies to pursue his arch nemesis, the Red Baron. It's a heartwarming adventure that proves every underdog has his day!
The Greatest Showman (2017, True-life, Drama, Musical. Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron)
Hugh Jackman swaps his claws for a top hat in this colourful and original musical – inspired by the ambition and imagination of P.T. Barnum, a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.
Zombies 2 (2020, Comedy, Musical , Romance. Milo Manheim, Meg Donnelly)
The continuing adventures of Seabrook High students Addison and Zed, whose budding romance is threatened by the arrival of werewolves. Huh?
Fantastic Four (2005, Action Adventure, Fantasy. Ioan Guffudd, Michael Chiklis, Chris Evans, Jessica Alba, Dir. Tim Story)
A group of scientists/astronauts gain superpowers after a cosmic radiation exposure and must use them to oppose the plans of their former patron now turned enemy, Doctor Victor Von Doom, who has also been transformed.
Please note the listing is subject to change.
Well, that's what's on offer for August so far, let us know what you think in the discussion thread.