Entertainment

Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'Hamilton' is skipping theaters, coming to Disney+ on July 3

Key Points
  • "Hamilton" will arrive on Disney+ on July 3.
  • The film was initially set to hit theaters in October 2021.
  • The film features the original Broadway cast of the Tony Award-winning musical.
(L-R) Phillipa Soo, Christopher Jackson, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Anthony Ramos attend Lin-Manuel Miranda's final performance of "Hamilton" on Broadway at Richard Rodgers Theatre on July 9, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
Nicholas Hunt

Disney is not throwing away its shot at garnering more subscribers on Disney+.

The filmed version of the Tony Award-winning musical "Hamilton" will arrive on Disney's streaming platform on July 3, the company and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda revealed Tuesday. 

The film was initially set to hit theaters in October 2021.

Miranda and Disney have been collaborating for several years. Miranda starred in "Mary Poppins Returns," wrote the music for "Moana," wrote songs for Disney's "Star Wars" sequel films and is currently working on music for the company's remake of "The Little Mermaid."

It has been reported that Disney paid $75 million for the worldwide rights to the movie, which features the original cast and runs 2 hours 40 minutes. With the film going straight to streaming, it is unclear how this will impact Disney's ability to monetize its investment.

It was expected to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office due to the musical's cultural resonance and passionate fan base. However, the coronavirus pandemic has made the future of movie-going uncertain and driven up demand for more at-home entertainment.

The addition of "Hamilton" to Disney's streaming service could lead to a spike in subscribers. As of May 4, Disney+ had 54.5 million subscribers.

Disney has said that it expected Disney+ to gain between 60 million and 90 million subscribers worldwide by 2024. The service will be rolled out to Japan in June, Europe in September and Latin America by the end of 2020, CEO Bob Chapek told CNBC on Monday.

The decision to release "Hamilton" on Disney+ may disappoint movie theater owners but likely won't cause any issues for Disney's relationship with exhibitors. Theater owners have been understanding about studios releasing films on streaming and on-demand due to theater closures. Where they have taken umbrage is when studios release movies in theaters and on-demand simultaneously.

"Hamilton," which was running at the Richard Rodgers Theater in New York until Covid-19 forced closures in mid-March, has been the most coveted ticket on Broadway since it debuted in 2015. The show has tallied nearly $650 million in ticket sales during that time, according to Broadway World.

"Hamilton" had two touring productions and a home in London's West End theater district. The show just closed its Chicago residency after nearly four years and had a brief three-week engagement in Puerto Rico in 2019.

The show has premieres set in Toronto, Hamburg and Sydney in 2020 and 2021. It is unclear if those productions will continue on schedule due to the pandemic.

Miranda portrayed Alexander Hamilton as part of the original cast alongside Leslie Odom Jr. (Aaron Burr), Renee Elise Goldsberry (Angelica Schuyler), Daveed Diggs (Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson), Phillipa Soo (Eliza Hamilton), Christopher Jackson (George Washington) and Jonathan Groff (King George).

The film was directed by Tommy Kail ("Fosse/Verdon" and "Grease: Live") and shot over the course of several nights during the last two weeks of the original cast's run.