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Will Disney+ have adult content? What about parental controls?

Will Disney+ have adult content?  What about parental controls?

Disney+ will become more mature starting Wednesday, bringing in a slew of mature Marvel shows that will reshape how the app works.

On Wednesday, Disney will add new Marvel series rated TV-MA that were originally released on Netflix. Those shows include “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” “Iron Fist,” “The Defenders” and “The Punisher,” along with TV-14-rated “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD,” which originally premiered on ABC.

The decision to add these shows is a first step for Disney+ in branching out beyond its family-friendly material, even though the streaming service already has mature content overseas. Disney+ has largely stayed family-friendly compared to other streaming apps, so this is a bit of a swerve for the company. But with the goal of expanding its reach, Disney+ is adding more adult content.

The bigger question, however, is what it means for American family viewers in the future.

To be fair, Disney+ has decided to add new parental controls to its platform due to the launch of these mature titles. All Disney+ users will be prompted to change their parental control settings when they open the app for the first time on or after March 16.

Subscribers can make several changes, including adding a new PIN to their accounts to make it more difficult for children to find adult content. Families can also set new content preferences so that only specific content is shown based on the rating. For example, families can keep the default settings, which allow everything rated TV-14 and below to appear in the selection menus.

“Disney+ has served as the home of some of the most beloved brands in the industry, and the addition of these live-action shows brings more of the Marvel brand together, all in one place,” said Michael Paull, president of Disney streaming. in a statement emailed to the press in early March.

“We’ve experienced great success with an expanded content offering on Disney+ across our global markets, and we’re excited to continue that here in the U.S. by offering our consumers not only great content with the new Marvel additions, but also a set of features that help ensure a viewing experience that works best for them and their family,” Paull added.

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Disney+ did not respond to Deseret News’ request for comment on the parental control changes.

Disney has had a history with R-rated films in the past, according to the Deseret News, as it has distributed R-rated films through American film distribution label Touchstone Pictures since 1986.

You could say that Disney+’s decision to add more adult content has been years in the making. Disney’s multibillion-dollar purchase of 21st Century Fox in December 2017 first raised the question of whether Disney would add more mature superhero films, since 21st Century Fox produced the “Deadpool” movies. Deadpool is a popular superhero with proven box office success, so it would be a strange decision for Disney to drop the character entirely. But the “Deadpool” movies are R-rated for mature language, graphic violence and adult content – something the Marvel Cinematic Universe has avoided.

“(‘Deadpool’) has clearly been and will be the Marvel brand. But we think there might be an opportunity for a Marvel-R brand for something like “Deadpool,” then-Disney CEO Bob Iger said at the time. “As long as we let the audience know what’s coming, we think we can do just fine.”

But the addition of the “Deadpool” movies — as well as the decision to merge Marvel Television with Marvel Studios, which led to the addition of the mature Marvel series to Disney+ — has brought the process into a new light.

Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, said at the TV Critics Association Winter Press Tour in February 2021 that Marvel Studios will make a third “Deadpool” movie with an R rating. He said R-rated projects will only happen if they make sense, as I wrote for the Deseret News, a sign that there would be restrictions on R-rated content.

And since all the MCU movies are coming to Disney+, Feige’s comments seemed to be the first confirmation that Disney+ was diving into adult content.

However, this may have been months in the making. Disney executives have reportedly argued over whether to add new adult or adult-only content to Disney+ in recent months.

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A report from Puck News described that former CEO Iger wants to keep Disney+ family-friendly, while Disney CEO Bob Chapek wants to add content beyond family-friendly to the streaming service to reach more audiences.

Chapek has long said that Disney+ reaches all audiences, but that has not been the case, as it lacks mature content. While Disney+ has a number of family-friendly properties, it doesn’t match the level of adult content that Hulu, Netflix and HBO Max have, which prevents it from expanding.

“For the service to grow beyond kids, fanboys and Indian cricket lovers, it needs to become more of a general entertainment platform. It needs a bit of Marvel, a bit of Pixar and a bit of ‘Only Murders in the Building,'” Puck News reported.

But Iger “insisted on sticking to the narrow definition” of family-friendly, focusing on content for families rather than expanding it, a source told Puck News. Chapek “intends to expand it,” the source said.

Unnamed sources told Puck News that some Disney+ insiders felt that Chapek, who uses data to make decisions, doesn’t have the right vision to make sure the transition is done right.

“Note that Netflix spends crazy amounts and makes a ton of crap. A handful of phenoms hit a giant pile of crud, an unnamed source tells Puck News.

The Parents Television and Media Council released a statement condemning Disney+’s decision to add more adult content, saying it could be considered “off-brand.”

“For more than 98 years, the Walt Disney Company has been synonymous with the words ‘Family Friendly,’ and I can think of no other company in American history that has been built more squarely on the backs—and on the wallets—of parents. and families,” Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television and Media Council, said in a statement.

“It seems very ‘off-brand’ for Disney+ to add TV-MA and R-rated programming to this platform, ostensibly to increase subscription revenue,” he added. “So what’s next, adding live striptease performances in Fantasyland at Disney World?”

Winter said the council supports the addition of parental controls, but the mature content “violates the trust of families, and may well turn them off completely.”

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“There’s no need for Disney+ to compete with the explicit content on other streaming platforms,” ​​Winter said. “Disney already has a competitive advantage with a streaming platform that is the safest out there for families. Its foray into TV-MA-rated fare will forever weaken the family-friendly crown.”

It seems that Chapek’s vision has won out. Not only is Disney+ adding more mature content with the addition of the Marvel shows, but some new content is being promoted as more violent.

In a recent interview with Empire, Feige said the “Moon Knight” series would be darker and more violent. And Disney+ didn’t make Marvel Studios hold back.

“It’s been fun working with Disney+ and seeing the boundaries of what we’re able to do push,” Feige said. “There are moments when ‘Moon Knight’ wails on another character, and it’s loud and brutal, and the knee-jerk reaction is, ‘We’re going to back off on this, right?’ No. We are not backing down. It’s a change of tone. This is another thing.”

“Moon Knight” — which premieres March 30 — is just the beginning. The Marvel Cinematic Universe seems poised for a darker turn as the shadowy Black Knight was added to the MCU in “Eternals,” seen through Dane Whitman (Kit Harrington). There was also a short teaser for the vampire slaying vampire Blade. The MCU is getting darker. With “Deadpool” on the horizon as well — and a potential future “Daredevil” project in the works — it looks like Disney+ will continue to embrace a more mature audience.

Or so you would think. Marvel may be leaning into the dark, but Lucasfilm isn’t. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly that the original version of the upcoming Disney+ “Star Wars” series “Obi-Wan Kenobi” was too dark for audiences and production was halted so the script could be reworked.

While some reports say that production was halted due to creative differences, in his interview with Entertainment Weekly, Kennedy was adamant that the show wanted to provide a better ideal than darkness – hope.

“We’re ultimately looking to create a hopeful, uplifting story,” Kennedy said.

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