The magic of Disney is sweeping over 16 new countries, including the UAE, on June 8 and bringing with a powerful slate of titles.
During a press event on June 7, which kicked off with a performance from acapella group DCappella, media from the UAE and other MENA regions got their first look at what the much-awaited streaming service is set to bring audiences.
“Disney+ truly represents our mission — to entertain, inform and inspire people around the world through unparallel storytelling,” said Tamim S. Fares, Director of Disney+ — Middle East & North Africa at Dubai Opera. “And now consumers will be able to further engage with these beloved stories and brands through the seamless experience of Disney+. And we know they will be thrilled for what lies in store.”
Disney+ will bring more than 1,200 films, more than 1,000 series and a slate of 100 exclusive Originals and more to the UAE and 15 other MENA markets including Saudi Arabia.
“We reached over 137 million paid subscribers globally and hit this number in just two and a half years,” said Fares. “This is because of three things — our robust platform, our incredible portfolio of brands and the outstanding content from our creative engines around the world.”
Fares said that by the end of the fiscal year 2024, Disney+ expects to have between 230-260 million subscribers globally. The streaming service is currently live in 65 countries and this number will increase to 116 by the end of this month.
“We are opening the door to universal stories that bring people together,” Fares added.
Disney+ will feature content from six brands — Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and Star. This includes movies such as ‘Turning Red’, ‘Encanto’ and ‘Black Widow’, shows such as the recently released ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’, and one of the most talked about titles, ‘Moon Knight’.
The Oscar Isaac-led show has made waves thanks to not only its intriguing storyline, about a mercenary who has dissociative identity disorder, but because it touches upon Egyptian mythology and culture.
‘Moon Knight’ director Mohamed Diab and writer Sarah Goher were present at the press conference to introduce the show to a new audience, and share how deeply significant the title is for them.
Diab said at the event: “I think everyone of us growing up had a relationship with Disney. So to have a project with them was such an honour. To have a first international project on Disney and with Disney and Marvel was a dream come true. It was like being a kid in a chocolate store.”
Talking about his reaction to the audience’s love for the series, he added: “Imagine that you’re doing something and a kid in India loves it, and a kid in Australia loves it… it’s great feeling to feel connected to everyone in the world… but it never felt better to get people in the region to be excited about the show.”
Asked how he felt about being the first Arabic director to release a Marvel project, Diab, who made his directorial debut with ‘Cairo 678’, said: “I’m not obsessed with being the first. But I’m obsessed with being good. So the most important thing for me was to make a good show… we always told Kevin Feige that we’re going to give you the best show on Disney+.”
Goher said: “I think one of the greatest things to come out of ‘Moon Knight’ is also how people interacted with the music. So we were able to showcase a lot of Arabic music. If you watch a lot of the old films that have to do with Egypt, you always hear this cliché music. And then for people to hear DJ Kaboo’s ‘Enta’… or ‘El Melouk’ which made it to No 15 on the Billboard charts… we are excited to bring [the show] here.”
Disney+ launches in the UAE on June 8. Users will have access to up to four concurrent streams, unlimited downloads on up to 10 devices, and the ability to set up to seven different profiles, including the ability for parents to set Kids Profiles to access age-appropriate content. A subscription costs Dh29.99 per month or Dh298.99 annually. The Dh239 annual introductory offer is available until June 7.