Disney has now released two films that were intended for theaters on Disney+ and the record is split. Artemis Fowl was a clear miss, while Hamilton is already whatever the streaming equivalent of a box office smash is called. The tiebreaker is set to come next month when Disney+ debuts The One and Only Ivan, another movie that was set for theaters but will now take the Disney+ cutoff. And now we have our first look at the new film which stars Bryan Cranston and a host of celebrity voices, including Angelina Jolie, Danny DeVito, and Sam Rockwell as the voice of Ivan.
If what you really need right now is a heart-warming family story to help you get through the current emotional nightmare, then The One and Only Ivan looks to be the perfect film. While it might not be a Disney concept, it very much has all the hallmarks of the 'Disney movie" in all the best ways. Check out the trailer below.
Ivan is a gorilla that has grown up in a circus run by Bryan Cranston. He's the star attraction, and from all indications, he's treated well. However, the circus is still imprisonment, and eventually, that gets to Ivan. He's an emotional soul who only plays the part of the angry gorilla because his job requires it.
Based on a 2013 book by K.A. Applegate which won the Newbery Medal for children's literature, it's easy to see why adapting this book for the screen appealed to Disney. Talking animals are a Disney staple, and by making this a live-action film the company can continue to use the technology from The Lion King and Lady and the Tramp that has been so popular.
Originally, The One and Only Ivan was going to be a theatrical release, but with the ongoing scheduling issues that have popped up as a result of theater closures, the decision was made to move the film to Disney+. This decision is also fairly easy to understand. The One and Only Ivan isn't a massive brand or franchise. While the movie certainly could have done well at the box office, it was never going to put up Marvel or Star Wars numbers. It might, however, get all the people who just subscribed to Disney+ for a month to watch Hamilton to hang around for a second month to check out the next new film.
And for those people who subscribe to Disney+, a steady stream of original content be it designed for the service or not, is going to be key to justifying that continued subscription payment. The One and Only Ivan is exactly the sort of movie that subscribers are expecting, a solid family movie that everybody can gather around the TV and enjoy together.
The One and Only Ivan arrives on Disney+ on August 14.