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Disney+ takes Hulu’s Mysterious Benedict

Disney’s adaptation of The Mysterious Benedict Society, the bestselling book series by Trenton Lee Stewart, has shifted from Hulu to Disney+, which has been projected to add 112 million subscribers over the next five years.

The series, which was originally developed for Hulu, will now launch on Disney’s main direct-to-consumer service in 2021, with Tony Hale (Veep, Arrested Development) in the titular role alongside Kristen Schaal (Bob’s Burgers, Last Man on Earth) and an ensemble cast of young actors.

The original book, upon which the eight-episode first season is based, was named as one of the best young-adult books of all time by Time magazine and has sold more than three million copies.

It follows a group of orphans, placed undercover at a boarding school, who must foil a nefarious plot with global ramifications while creating a new sort of family along the way.

The Mysterious Benedict Society is executive produced by Sonar Entertainment, 20th Television, Jamie Tarses, Karen Kehela Sherwood, Matt Manfredi (writer/creator) and Phil Hay (writer/creator). The showrunners for the series are Darren Swimmer and Todd Slavkin.

Dana Walden, chairman of entertainment at Walt Disney Television, said: “It’s original, clever and fun for the whole family, which makes it the perfect fit for Disney+. One of the great benefits to creators working with our company is that we have a platform that’s right for every series, and having seen the first few episodes of this show, there is no better home for it than Disney+.”

In related news, Digital TV Research has predicted Disney+ will add 112 million subscribers between 2020 and 2025 to take its total subscriber base to 194 million.

This comes after the latest figures released by The Walt Disney Company (TWDC) last week show Disney+ now has 73.7 million paid subscribers globally as its popularity surpassed the company’s initial expectations.

Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “Much of Disney+’s initial growth came from the US, mainly due to the attractive bundle of Disney+ with ESPN+ and Hulu. More recently, India’s Disney+ Hotstar subs count has rocketed due to its coverage of IPL cricket. The US and India will account for nearly half of Disney+’s subscriber base by 2025.”

Disney+ is expected to generate US$13bn by 2025, while Netflix’s revenues are expected to reach US$37bn by 2025 – up by US$17bn on its 2019 total – as it adds 73 million subscribers to reach a total of 274 million by 2025.

TWDC initially set a target of reaching between 60 million and 90 million subscribers and achieving profitability in the fiscal year 2024.

Elsewhere at the Mouse House, Disney Channel is set to begin production in Vancouver later this month on a contemporary comedic remake of its first original movie, 1997’s Under Wraps.

Set to air on Disney Channel next year, the reimagined story follows three 12-year-old friends as they accidentally revive a mummy they discover in a neighbour’s basement a few days before Halloween.

Produced by MarVista Entertainment, Under Wraps is directed by Alex Zamm with Todd Y Murata and Fernando Szew as executive producers for MarVista Entertainment.

Based on the original movie written by Don Rhymer, the writing team for the remake is Zamm and William Robertson.


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