The launch of Disney+ is just over two months away. While only Disney fan club members have had a chance to officially sign up so far, the word is that the new streaming service will be a major player from day one, with early signups looking to surpass even the most generous estimates. With so much material from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and more, it’s not hard to figure out why.
There’s so much good stuff coming on launch day, November 12, that you might be tempted to just stay home and watch movies all day (note to self: put in for that vacation day). But if you did that, just where would you even start? That’s where we come in. Here are a few suggestions of movie marathons to enjoy on the day Disney+ launches. And since you won’t be able to do all of these on day one, they should last you until the first weekend at the very least, depending on how much sleep you want to get.
The Pixar Theory Marathon
One segment of the massive Disney library that won’t be hurting for content on Disney+ on day one is Pixar. 18 of Pixar’s 21 feature films will be available on day one, with only Coco, Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4 missing, though they’ll all be available before the first year is out, You could sit down and watch them in release order, but why do that, when you can watch them in chronological order?
The Pixar Theory is a popular fan theory constructed by John Negroni which supposes that all Pixar movies take place within the same universe and on a continuous timeline. The details are a bit too involved to go into here, but the idea is based primarily around the idea that Boo, the little girl from Monsters Inc. and the witch from Brave are actually the same person, and everything else spills out from there. In this marathon, you start with, obviously, The Good Dinosaur, before moving to Brave, the events of Cars take place before Wall-E, and the end of the road (at least right now) comes with Monsters Inc.
Star Wars – The Machete Cut Marathon
One of the coolest things about Disney+ is that it will be the home of all things Star Wars. While there had been some question early on about Disney’s distribution rights for the original trilogy, we now know that the first two trilogies will be available on day one in their entirety, along with Rogue One: A Star Wars: Story and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
This, again, is a great opportunity to watch movies you know in a new way. The Machete Cut answers the age old question of which trilogy to watch first, by reordering the entire thing. The idea is to watch A New Hope, then The Empire Strikes Back, then jump back to the prequels to learn how Darth Vader came to be, before finishing with The Return of the Jedi. The machete part comes from chopping out The Phantom Menace entirely, as the movie isn’t necessary to make a coherent story, and is also pretty bad. You can watch it or not, we won’t judge. You can also add Rogue One to the front of it all just for fun.
The Disney Vault Marathon
Back in the mid-1980s, Disney wasn’t sure what to do about this wild new invention that was gaining popularity called the VCR. The company was in the business of releasing its classic animated films every 6-8 years so that new generations could enjoy them on the big screen, and the studio could make new money on old movies, but the VCR threatened that business. The solution Disney came up with became known as The Disney Vault. Films like Pinocchio and Cinderella, and later The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, would be released on home video, but only for a limited amount of time. Then they would be pulled off shelves for a few years to rebuild demand.
With Disney+, The Disney Vault is officially open for good. All 13 films that are part of The Signature Collection, will be available on day one. Start with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and watch them all. Most serious Disney nerds likely own them all in one form or another, but if you missed your window to pick them up the last time they were on disc, now’s your chance.
Disney Originals Vs. Remakes Marathon
Disney has made live-action remakes of its animated classics a major part of the company’s focus, and now with Disney+, both the animated original and the live-action remake will be available for fans to enjoy. This means you can watch both versions of the story, and make your own determination as to which is better.
According to Disney’s Investor Day presentation, both the live-action and animated versions of Dumbo, 101 Dalmatians, and Alice in Wonderland will all be available on day one. In addition, the live-action version of Lady & The Tramp will make its debut at launch, so before you check out the new version, you can watch the animated original. Others in the remake category, like Aladdin, Christopher Robin and The Lion King, are expected in the first year to join the animated versions, so you can run this marathon a second time with entirely new content down the road.
Disney Cult Classics Marathon
These days, it seems like every movie Disney releases makes a billion dollars. I mean, in 2019 that’s almost literally the case. However, then as now, there are some Disney movies that don’t catch on. Some of them become modest successes and others are true box office bombs, but many of them have built their own fanbases over the years.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks was meant to be the next Mary Poppins and while it didn’t reach that level of success, it has its own sort of charm. The Rocketeer was a classic pulp superhero story that never caught on. Newsies has been much more successful as a Broadway show than it ever was a film, but it includes a young Christian Bale, singing, so there’s that. Tron did eventually spawn a sequel, almost 30 years after the original. Neither Fantasia movie was a massive hit in its day, but they’re both great films which Disney’s Investor Day revealed would be available when Disney+ launches.
As with all streaming services, more content, new and old, will be added as time goes on. Before too long, you’ll be able to stream every animated Disney movie or the entire MCU, And that’s not even taking into account all the original content that will be arriving for the service. That’s a whole other conversation.
However, on day one Disney+ is still going to have a lot of stuff to watch. A lot of it you’ve probably seen, but you can watch it again, as often as you like, or find some other, unappreciated gem to explore for the first time.