Hamilton may not get box office numbers to brag about, but the musical did drive sales for Disney+ as hoped. The filmed version of the Broadway musical was meant to be released in theaters next year but was instead dropped online this weekend due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to a report by Variety, Hamilton drove a 72.4 percent increase in downloads for its streaming service.
Disney did its best to capitalize on Hamilton's release this weekend, in honor of the Fourth of July. When the acclaimed musical went up to stream, the 7-day free trial that Disney+ previously offered mysteriously disappeared, leaving fans the choice between subscribing for $6.99 per month or for $69.99 per year. Many shelled out, as the app was reportedly downloaded 513,323 times globally, with 266,084 downloads coming from the U.S. That is is over 72 percent higher than any weekend in June. Worldwide, this was a 46.6 percent increase.
The marked increase in downloads is likely lower than the actual number of paying subscribers Disney+ gained this weekend, according to Variety. The outlet pointed out that new customers had various options to sign up for the service on web browsers, on smart TVs or on other devices where an app download would not have shown up in this data set. The service offers a competitive price, which industry experts believe is designed to draw customers in compared to its biggest competitors like Netflix, Hulu and HBO Max.
The subscription price was still far less than a movie ticket would have been — especially for families or small groups. Still, some customers are more hesitant to commit to a monthly payment than to purchase a one-time ticket. Before the coronavirus pandemic, Hamilton was meant to premiere on the big screen in the fall of 2021.
The production of Hamilton now immortalized on video was filmed in June of 2016 when the original cast was still performing it on Broadway in New York City. It is made up of footage from three separate shows that month, directed for both the stage and the film by Thomas Kail.
The cast includes writer and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, along with Leslie Odom Jr., Daveed Diggs, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Jonathan Groff, Christopher Jackson, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, and Phillipa Soo. So far, the film version has been well-received, with many critics wondering if it signals a new era for Broadway's exclusive stage plays being released to the public.