Disney+ Unveils Ambitious New European Originals Slate

10 new originals for Disney+ with projects confirmed in France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands 

Award-winning creators and producers including Juliette Howell, Stephen Butchard, Quoc Dang Tran and Jörg Winger will bring a distinctive European flavour to Disney+ 

Announcement comes as new general entertainment brand Star arrives on Disney+ on Feb 23rd 2021 

The Walt Disney Company EMEA announced its initial slate of European originals for Disney+, confirming the company’s commitment to source, develop and produce original productions in Europe. Established award-winning creators and producers will bring a diverse range of European stories and local relevance to Disney+ alongside the iconic entertainment brands subscribers know and love.   

The first ten projects commissioned for Disney+ under the Disney brand and the forthcoming general entertainment brand Star, are the start of Disney’s ambition to commission 50 productions in Europe by 2024.  

Projects span multiple genres including drama, comedy, sci-fi and documentary, and have been greenlit in France, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands, with a raft of additional projects in development.  

From a female-led mafia crime thriller to an edge-of-your-seat supernatural mystery, powerful true-life stories to an uplifting romantic drama, these new European commissions will bring local high-quality storytelling to Disney+, ensuring there continues to be something for everyone to enjoy. 

Diego Londono, EVP, Media Networks and Content, The Walt Disney Company EMEA commented: “Our commissioning strategy showcases our commitment to producing world-class original content, tailored to local markets but with the creative ambition to appeal to audiences across the globe. Europe has a global reputation as a creative powerhouse, which combined with Disney’s expertise in high-quality storytelling and its relationships with top talent on and off screen will ensure Disney+ is the go-to destination for compelling and engaging entertainment in Europe.” 

Liam Keelan, Vice President Original Content, The Walt Disney Company EMEA commented: “These first ten projects embody our ambitious vision for local production. Our initial European offering underscores Disney’s regional commitment to outstanding and diverse talent, reflecting our desire to work with the very best storytellers in the industry.”

Today’s European commissions will complement and enhance the latest global slate confirmed at the Disney Investor Day event in December 2020. With more than 100 titles announced, Disney+ plans to release approximately 10 Star Wars series and 10 Marvel series, as well as 15 Disney live action, Disney Animation, and Pixar series, as well as 15 Disney live action, Disney Animation, and Pixar features over the next few years, all in addition to the premium content set to premiere in theatres or on linear channels before coming to the streaming service. This is in addition to the thousands of hours of movies and television from Disney’s creative studios, including Disney Television Studios (ABC Signature and 20th Television), FX Productions, 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures and more.

French Original Commissions: 

Four French commissions announced today include two new Star Originals and two Disney+ Originals.

Oussekine, an ambitious four-part Star Original mini-series, examines the terrible true events of December 5, 1986, that led to the death of a young student, Malik Oussekine.  Centred on his family’s fight for justice, the series will explore the enormous impact this high-profile case had on French society. Oussekine is created and directed by Antoine Chevrollier (Baron Noir, Le Bureau des Légendes) and co-written by Faïza Guène, Julien Lilti and Cédric Ido.  

Parallels, from creator Quoc Dang Tran (Marianne, Nox) and co-written by Anastasia Heinzl, is a Disney+ Original fantasy series following four teenagers, whose lives are turned upside down when a mysterious event propels them into parallel dimensions. They will do everything to understand what happened and try to get back home. This suspenseful, mystery adventure is produced by Empreinte Digitale (Raphaël Rocher and Eric Laroche) and Daïmôn Films (Quoc Dang Tran).

Weekend Family, a Disney+ Original, is a jubilant comedy that chronicles the life of a new stepfamily that meet up every weekend. But when the father gets into a relationship with a new partner, the weekends take on a whole new turn. Weekend Family is produced by by Groupe Elephant. Created by Baptiste Filleul (La Foret), it is written by Nour Bensalem, Géraldine de Margerie, Julie-Anna Grignon, Marion Carnel and Paul Madillo.

Soprano: Sing or Die, a Star Original documentary series, will offer unique and exclusive access to one of France’s most popular recording artists as he and his crew get ready for a massive stadium tour in Summer 2022. The series charts Soprano and his friends’ history from their humble beginnings in Marseilles to their present-day success. 

Italian Original Commissions: 

Three Star Originals for Disney+ have been confirmed for Italy.

Italian series The Good Mothers, offers a unique twist on the crime genre: this is the mafia seen entirely from the women’s perspectives. A Star Original for Disney+, the series is executive produced by Juliette Howell and Tessa Ross for House Productions (Brexit: The Uncivil War) and Mario Gianani and Lorenzo Gangarossa for Wildside, written by BAFTA Award-winning Stephen Butchard (Baghdad Central), and based on the gripping book by Foreign Press Association award-winning journalist Alex Perry. The series follows the shocking true story of three women who were born into the most deadly and wealthy of the Italian mafia clans and how they worked with a courageous female prosecutor to bring it down. They must fight their own families for the right to survive and build a new future for their children.

Star on Disney+ will see the return of fan-favourite comedy series Boris: a hilarious show-within-a-show format that generated three seasons and a movie. Originally set “behind-the-scenes” of a fictional low-budget drama series “The Eyes of the Heart”, the brand-new season reunites the original crew. They soon discover the world of television has changed; social media, influencers and various streaming platforms dictate the law. How will our protagonists face in this new world? Boris is produced by The Apartment, a Fremantle Company.

A romantic drama inspired by the Italian box office hit and cultural sensation Le Fate Ignoranti, The Ignorant Angels is a Star Original series from Turkish-Italian director Ferzan Ozpetek. When Antonia’s husband Massimo is killed in a car accident, she discovers that he has been having a same-sex affair with a man named Michele. She’s devastated at the news, but the straight-laced Antonia finds herself building an unexpected and moving friendship with Michele and his circle of misfit eccentrics. The Ignorant Angels is produced by R&C Productions.

German Commissions

Two Star Originals for Disney+ have been confirmed for Germany.

Greenlit for Germany is the true-life drama Sam – A Saxon. From Big Window Productions, this is the real-life story of Samuel Meffire, East-Germany’s first black police officer. The series shows how Meffire became a media sensation and a symbol of modern society in the post-reunification 1990s.  But just a few years later, he ended up behind bars himself, as an enemy of the state. Sam – A Saxon is produced by International Emmy Award-winner Jörg Winger (Deutschland 83) and Tyron Ricketts.

The German dark comedy Sultan City, from up-and-coming producers Ayla Gottschlich and Aysel Yilmaz and head writer Ipek Zübert, follows the respectable matriarch of a German-Turkish family who accidentally becomes the head of a criminal underworld, and discovers she and her daughters have a talent for the business. 

Dutch Commissions

Feyenoord Rotterdam is a gripping sports documentary for the Netherlands.  Produced by Lusus Media, this much-loved football club has opened its doors to reveal what really happens off the pitch. 

New appointments: 

As part of the commitment to European creative storytelling, two new roles have been created in Spain and Germany. Sofía Fábregas has been appointed as VP Original Productions, Iberia, and Benjamina Mirnik-Voges has been appointed as VP Original Productions, Germany. Both roles will be responsible for the development and production of the local Disney-branded and Star-branded Originals for Disney+, reporting into local leadership and Diego Londono, working in close collaboration with Liam Keelan. 

These new roles follow the previously confirmed announcement of Sean Doyle, who will serve as Director of Original Production for unscripted general entertainment across Europe and reporting to Liam Keelan. 

Disney+ will unveil Star, its new general entertainment brand, inside the Disney+ app on 23 February, bringing a fresh and ever-growing world of TV series, movies and originals to customers. UK customers can currently subscribe to Disney+ for £5.99 per month, or £59.99 annually (annual price available at most retailers). Full details on how to subscribe available on Disneyplus.com. From 23 February, Disney+ will cost £7.99 or £79.90 annually. Current prices for existing subscribers (prior to 23rd February) will be honoured for six months, with the price change taking effect on the monthly or annual renewal date following 22 August 2021. For more information on the service, visit disney.co.uk.  

About Disney+ 

Disney+ is the dedicated streaming home for movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic, as well as the new general entertainment content brand in select International markets, Star. As part of Disney’s Media and Entertainment Distribution segment, Disney+ is available on most internet-connected devices and offers commercial-free programming with a variety of original feature-length films, documentaries, live-action and animated series, and short-form content. Alongside unprecedented access to Disney’s incredible library of film and television entertainment, the service is also the exclusive streaming home for the latest releases from The Walt Disney Studios.