Disney’s decision to scrap a cinematic release for its recording of hit Broadway musical Hamilton in favour of a streaming launch on Disney+ has paid off handsomely for the company.
According to data research firm Apptopia, the Disney+ app was downloaded 513,323 times globally over the July 4th weekend, with 266,084 in the US alone.
That was 74% higher than the average totals over a comparable timeframe in June for the US, and 47% higher worldwide.
Hamilton, which casts the US’s founding fathers with non-white performers, has taken the musical theatre world by storm since its 2015. Written by and initially starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show was celebrated for its blend of historical storytelling with a modern hip-hop soundtrack.
Quickly becoming the hottest ticket in Manhattan’s Broadway and later London’s West End, the show was reportedly at the centre of a bidding war for its film rights. Disney would win this in February 2020 with a US$75 million offer in what is believed to be the biggest film acquisition deal ever.
A stage recording of Hamilton with its original cast that was filmed in 2016 was initially set to release in cinemas in October 2021, but Disney made the shock move to scrap this plan in its entirety and make the musical a streaming exclusive for Disney+ more than a year ahead of schedule.
With the download figures at over half a million over the weekend, it is clear that audiences starved of the possibility of getting to a theatre were keen to watch the 160 minute stage recording.
Prior to this increase, Apptopia said that Disney+ had nearly 71.5 million mobile app downloads worldwide – a statistic made more impressive by the fact that the download number does not include India or Japan where Disney+ was rolled into a pre-existing app.
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