Inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop/R&B/soul/pop and show tune mash-up musical Hamilton is a smash-hit. It started Off-Broadway at the Public Theater in 2015 and it’s entire engagement was sold out. Eight Drama Desk Awards later it was at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Broadway.
Positive reviews across the board and record box-office sales led to Hamilton received a record-setting 16 nominations at the Tony Awards, eventually winning 11 including Best Musical. It then received the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Using non-white actors as the Founding Fathers and other historical figures, Hamilton was said to use modern storytelling methods that led to it being tagged:
“America then, as told by America now.”
It became something of a cultural phenomenon and also courted some minor controversy as then Vice-President elect was addressed directly from the stage by one of the cast:
“Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at Hamilton: An American Musical, we really do. We, sir,—we—are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us. Again, we truly thank you truly for seeing this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations.”
So huge was this show that a live recording was eventually destined for movie theaters across the world. And then COVID19 happened and the theaters closed. So Disney+ to the rescue as Hamilton found a new home and a new distribution method to stream direct into homes. Following it’s incredible performance at the box-office of Broadway and London, it did the same on the streamer.
Analytics film Apptopia reports that, from Friday through Sunday, the Disney+ app was downloaded 513,323 times across the world. 266,084 times in the United States alone. The musical premiered on the service on Friday, July 3rd.
This had a knock on effect as in the US there was a 72.4% spike in the number of downloads across the service against the previous 4 week average. It was 46.6% higher worldwide. Actual gains are higher as this was only mobile device sign-ups and the majority, in reality, would probably use a smart-TV or the website.
This is great news for Disney+ as the COVID shutdowns of productions had left the streamer with something of a fresh content gap until the Marvel shows caught up and Season 2 of The Mandalorian was ready to go.