Disney has been on a massive buying spree in the last few years, swallowing up major Hollywood entertainment productions and bringing them all under the umbrella of the Mouse Empire on Disney+. But a lot of the content belonging to those productions would be deemed too mature for Disney’s family-friendly brand. According to Bill Hunt from The Digital Bits, there are plans to alter the fledgling digital platform to make room for a different type of content.
“Hearing interesting reports from sources in the last couple days that Disney is creating essentially a more adult section of Disney+ that will require pin code access. And that’s where all of the Fox and MGM content will go moving forward. Including lots of #4K.”
Hunt clarified in a later tweet that he was referring to Touchstone, not MGM. If the report turns out to be true, fans will soon be able to watch R-rated content on Disney+, including the Deadpool franchise, Alien, and Bohemian Rhapsody. But in order to do so, they will need to input some form of pin code identification to confirm they are old enough to view such content. Because as everyone knows, if there is one thing that truly works on the internet, it is age-verification processes.
Adding an age-restricted section to their platform makes sense for Disney+. The platform has effectively cornered the market when it comes to teen and tween subscribers, but older audiences are less likely to be enticed by Frozen or the latest episodes of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. For mature viewers, Disney can turn to the large catalog of R or higher-rated content that they have already spent hundreds of millions of dollars buying the rights to.
The fact is, Disney is fast becoming too big a conglomerate to be able to rely strictly on PG fare to expand. In order to make full use of the many IPs the company bought under its acquisition of Fox and other production companies, Disney needs to look beyond family-friendly content, the kind of content that flies in the face of the singing, dancing, fairytale world that Walt Disney immortalized with the classic Disney animation era, and which the company has been mining through sequels and remakes ever since.
Creating an adult section will also finally allow Disney to stop treating its R-rated properties as unwanted step-children that it is embarrassed to acknowledge. A third Deadpool movie has been stuck in limbo for years because, according to Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld, Disney does not know what to do with the foul-mouthed, ultra-violent anti-hero, or how to integrate such a character into the PG-13 rated MCU.
It remains to be seen whether Disney+ will be getting a ‘rated for adults’ section any time soon. And whether the influx of new subscribers such a move would inevitably produce will be enough to put the new service ahead of Netflix, and allow the Mouse Empire to dominate the global streaming landscape as well.