What is Disney+ Day and why is Disney doing it?

The studio hopes to draw new and existing Disney+ streaming subscribers deeper into the world of Disney.
Actor Tom Hanks in a scene from "Pinocchio," which debuts on Disney+ during Disney+ Day
Actor Tom Hanks in a scene from "Pinocchio," which debuts on Disney+ during Disney+ Day
Image: Disney
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The biggest marketing day of the year for Disney will arrive on Sept. 8 with a multi-tier event involving nearly every aspect of the Disney universe.

The marketing blitz, called Disney+ Day, is primarily designed to sign up new subscribers for the Disney+ streaming service, and retain current subscribers, by offering additional benefits. For starters, both new and existing subscribers will be able to get one month of Disney+ for $2, a $6 discount from the normal monthly fee.

Along with the price break, the company is moving Thor: Love and Thunder to Disney+ and will premiere new films including Tom Hanks’ live-action Pinocchio and the how-they-got-made documentaries Assembled: The Making of Thor: Love and Thunder and Obi-Wan Kenobi: A Jedi’s Return, as well as Cars on the Road, a series spin-off of Pixar’s Cars film franchise.

Disney is pushing its marketing might beyond the Disney+ app

The company also will offer discounted screenings ($5) of Encanto, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the classic comedy Newsies, Cars, and Thor: Ragnarok until Sept. 19 at select AMC theaters.

In addition, Disney+ Day will usher in the return of the D23 Expo, the company’s biennial, in-person, fan-focused event that was postponed in 2021 due to the pandemic. Disney+ subscribers will be given access to various promotions and preview screenings at the Anaheim, California, event which will be held Sept. 9 to Sept. 11.

The company is also extending its deal with Uber to offer six months of free Uber One membership to Disney+ subscribers.

Trailer 2 | Pinocchio | Disney+

The trend of studios using fake holidays to market products is only accelerating

Branding a specific day has become one of the most heavily relied upon tools for large Hollywood studios to cross-promote their franchises and related products. Star Trek Day, which kicked off last year, will be held again on Sept. 8, and Netflix’s annual Tudum fan event will take place on Sept. 24.

Like the recent National Cinema Day, as well as the annual Star Wars Day and Alien Day, Disney’s artificial holiday works as a streamlined marketing effort to channel its brand to fans and would-be fans around the world.

So far, the public seems to enjoy these one-day brand bombing runs. But only studios like Disney and its top competitors have the breadth and scale needed to truly benefit from testing the public’s patience with blatant marketing “holidays.”