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Disney Plus: Everything you need to know as The Mandalorian returns

por Charla Wan (2021-07-15)

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Disney Plus' breakout hit The Mandalorian returned with its second season Friday. 
Lucasfilm/Disney Plus
Disney Plus is the Hollywood giant's hub for watching almost everything Disney produces. Disney Plus streams shows and movies from Disney franchises, including Star WarsMarvel and Pixar, and all the family-friendly movies and animation from Disney itself. It also has originals, as well as programming it acquired by taking over Fox, such as The Simpsons and the X-Men movies. Recently, it's touting The Mandalorian returned Friday with its season 2 premiere. 

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Streaming is set to become an even bigger deal for Disney, around its services Disney Plus, ESPN Plus. In October, the company said streaming would be Disney's top programming focus, a realignment it plans to explain in detail in December.

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With the COVID-19 pandemic shuttering cinemas and forcing families to entertain themselves more at home, Disney has changed Disney Plus' role, making the service an outlet to premiere big-budget films that skip theaters. On the bright side for movie fans starved of their normal diet of new films, that's meant a string of surprise home releases. But the pandemic also has shuttered much of Disney's filming of new shows and movies, delaying some of Disney Plus' high-profile originals.  The pandemic has caused radical changes for Disney's film releases. At first, Disney Plus simply started streaming already-released movies months earlier than planned. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker began streaming three months early
on the May the Fourth fan day. Before that, Disney released animated hit Frozen 2 three months early as well, and Pixar's Onward landed on Disney Plus just weeks after it premiered in theaters.  Then Disney started ratcheting up the streaming releases of new movies too. In July, Disney Plus got a bump in interest as it released its film version of the award-winning musical . The Hamilton film arrived on Disney Plus more than a year earlier than its originally planned theatrical debut for October 2021. One research firm estimated that Hamilton was the most-streamed title of any service that month, even tripling the popularity of Netflix's biggest hit in the period.  Sign up for Disney PlusBut the biggest change was Disney's release of its live-action remake of Mulan. The mega-budget film was released on Disney Plus in September as a $30 add-on to the service's regular subscription price. Mulan was supposed to hit theaters in March but was delayed repeatedly because of the pandemic. So Disney skipped theaters to stream it instead, a move that would've been unthinkable six months earlier. The decision marks an unprecedented approach to releasing a movie that had been destined to be a blockbuster back when theaters were open worldwide, and it's a major departure from the rigid windows that usually keep new movies in theaters for 75 days or longer.  But Mulan's release on Disney Plus won't pave the way for you to watch other live-action, big-budget flicks at home or on your phone. Less than three weeks after Mulan's release, Disney delayed Marvel's Black Widow from Nov. 6 until May 7 -- a sign that the rest of its biggest movies will wait until cinemas reopen and audiences may be ready to return to theaters again. And Pixar's latest animated film, Soul, is the next would-be blockbuster movie headed straight to streaming on Disney Plus instead of cinemas. Pixar's Soul will debut on Dec. 25, coinciding with Christmas Day -- and it'll available for all subscribers at no additional cost. Marvel's original series destined for Disney Plus, though, have been delayed too.  The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, originally planned to be its first live-action Marvel original series released in August, won't hit Disney Plus until next year. The release plans for other Marvel shows are unclear. WandaVision with Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany originally was set to come in December; a Loki series featuring Tom Hiddleston was slated for spring 2021; and a Hawkeye series was aimed for fall 2021, starring Jeremy Renner and featuring Kate Bishop, who in the comics becomes a second Hawkeye. But Disney hasn't confirmed release dates for any of the Marvel programs. WandaVision's trailer premiered during the Emmys telecast in September, saying only that WandaVision is "coming soon." 

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As the coronavirus pandemic persists, Disney Plus may take on other roles, too. It was already a massive bet on streaming as the future of home entertainment, taking on Netflix and an emerging crop of rivals like PeacockApple TV Plus and HBO Max -- even unconventional short-form, mobile service Quibi. But the rollout of Disney Plus was one of last year's biggest launches, with a media analyst calling it "one of the greatest product launches of all time."  Disney Plus has ramped up to 60.5 million subscribers, lightning-fast growth that even Disney never predicted. Initially, the company projected the service would reach between 60 million and 90 million subscribers about five years after launch. Instead, within eight months, it has already crossed the low end of that range. Disney Plus' solid footing -- and the fact that it has become the de facto way Disney has been releasing new movies during coronavirus lockdown -- spurred the company to remove its standard offer of seven-day  for new members in June. That move came about two weeks before the release of In the US, Disney Plus costs $7 a month, or $70 if you prepay for a full year. (International prices are listed below.) The monthly rate is half the price of , and that price is also a discount compared with Netflix's cheapest tier, at $9 a month.  So is  worth paying for? All the details about Disney Plus are below, but basically: If you love or or if you have kids, you may find yourself with yet another subscription. How much does Disney Plus cost? In the US, the Disney Plus service costs $7 a month, or $70 a year.  In Canada, Disney Plus is priced at C$9 a month, or C$90 per year. In countries that are part of the eurozone, it is 7 euros, or 70 euros a year. In the UK, it is £6 a month, or £60 a year. In Australia, it's priced at AU$9 a month, or AU$90 per year, while New Zealand subscribers pay NZ$10 per month, or NZ$100 per year.  In India, Disney Plus Hotstar is priced at 299 Indian rupees a month, or 999 rupees a year. In Japan, Disney Plus is 700 yen a month through an exclusive partnership with Japanese telecom company NTT Docomo.  In Norway, Disney Plus costs 69 Norwegian kroner monthly or 689 kroner annually. In Sweden, it costs 69 Swedish kronor a month or 689 kronor a year. And in Denmark, it costs be 59 Danish kroner a month, or 589 kroner a year. onward-online-use-t261-115-pub-pub16-788Pixar's Onward became available to stream on Disney Plus on April 3. 
The US price undercuts the $14 monthly fee for 

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