Disney+ Premier Access: Is It Worth The Extra Price Tag?

Tylah Mofford

Disney+ has reached a whopping 103.6 million subscribers (May 2021, according to Statista) since its launch at the end of 2019; no doubt due to the vast selection of Disney classics, hit shows like Greys Anatomy and the majority of the Marvel Cinematic Universe being available under one platform. Considering this immense popularity, a key question springs to mind: what’s the need for ‘Premier Access’?

‘Premier Access’ is Disney+’s method of releasing the latest, most sought-after titles for an additional cost to subscribers. Some of the most highly anticipated films like Black Widow, Mulan, Cruella and most recently, Jungle Cruise, have all been released using this method, meaning eager fans either have to pay up or wait even longer to watch such titles. For context, at the moment, UK subscribers have to cough up an additional £19.99 to watch Jungle Cruise through ‘Premier Access’. Bearing in mind subscribers already pay at least £7.99 a month, it is understandable that this additional cost has stirred up some controversy.

Why charge subscribers who are already paying for the service even more to watch new releases?

The answer to this question is actually more logical than at first thought. Firstly, during the pandemic, ‘Premier Access’ acted as a ‘virtual cinema’ to boost box office figures. New releases were unable to generate the same box office figures as before the pandemic due to the closing of cinemas, therefore charging viewers to see new films through the streaming service acted as a way to combat this so the film industry could stay afloat.

Looking at it another way, ‘Premier Access’ could be far more financially beneficial to the viewer depending on their circumstances. Consider a trip to the cinema: a standard family ticket to view Jungle Cruise currently costs £23.96 (via Cineworld), whilst on Premier Access it only costs £19.99. Of course, there are further costs to consider on top of this, such as transport to the theatre and drinks and snacks at extortionate theatre prices, which all make a family trip to the movies a much more expensive event. In this scenario, ‘Premier Access’ is certainly the more cost-effective solution.

Disney+’s ‘Premier Access’ bodes one other key benefit over cinema viewing: you can re-watch the film as many times as you like. For just the one fee, you gain full access to the film so you can enjoy the experience multiple times without having to pay repeatedly. When looking at it from this perspective, ‘Premier Access’ makes a lot of sense.

With all of this said, ‘Premier Access’ is not going to be the best option for everyone

If, like myself, you are an avid cinemagoer, watching a new film at home is never going to have the same impact as at the cinema. There is something about the larger-than-life screen, the immersive darkness and the crunch of the popcorn that cannot be replaced.

Also, when a student cinema ticket only costs around £7.99 (Cineworld), there isn’t much point in paying £19.99 for one film. Disney has also built in a clever catch that ‘Premier Access’ is only available to Disney+ subscribers, so you must already be paying £7.99 a month (or whatever plan you are signed up to) to even have the option of choosing ‘Premier Access’ in the first place.

As I’ve laid out, views on Disney+’s ‘Premier Access’ is entirely dependent on each individual situation. If you happen to already hold a Disney+ subscription and are wanting to see a new release, seriously consider if ‘Premier Access’ works out better than a one-off trip to the cinema. Likewise, perhaps think twice before simply watching the latest film through ‘Premier Access’, as a solo trip to the cinema may surprisingly end up being the better budget-friendly option.

Tylah Mofford

Featured Image courtesy of Marc Levin via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes made to this image.

In article image 1 courtesy of disneyplusuk via instagram.com. No changes made to this image.

In article image 2 and 3 courtesy of disneyplus via instagram.com. No changes made to these image.

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