“Noelle,” a fantasy comedy with Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader, is expected to debut on Disney’s new streaming service. Disney officially pulled the title from its release calendar on Thursday, while unveiling a stream of untitled Marvel and Pixar movies, and moving its live-action version of “Mulan” back by more than a year. “Noelle,” previously titled “Nicole,” had initially been slated to debut in theaters on Nov. 8, 2019.
Disney declined to comment and has been pretty tight-lipped about what its streaming service will look like, but those in the know expect the studio will make between four to five original movies a year. “Avengers” films and “Star Wars” installments typically carry budgets in the $200 million range, but these films will have price tags under $100 million. They will be more in the mid-budget range of films. “Noelle,” which has been described as a female Santa Claus movie, had been rumored to be part of that suite of programming for some time.
The over-the-top service is expected to offer family-friendly fare. It’s unclear how much it will cost, but rival studios say that Disney is betting a lot of money on launching a rival to Netflix. The company makes billions from licensing its movies, much of that pure profit. It will have to forgo that as it holds back its content for its new streaming service. Disney’s OTT debut will also require a substantial investment in infrastructure and technology. Last fall, Disney announced it was buying much of Fox’s film and television assets for $52.4 billion. Analysts saw that move as part of an effort to bolster Disney’s library of streaming offerings.