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July 7, 2020, 12:16 p.m. EDT

‘Hamilton’ debuts to smashing reviews, spike in downloads of Disney+ app

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By Jon Swartz


Getty Images
Phillipa Soo (left to right) Christopher Jackson, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Anthony Ramos attend Miranda's final performance of "Hamilton" on Broadway at Richard Rodgers Theatre on July 9, 2016, in New York.

It’s official: “Hamilton” is a hit on Broadway, on film, and now on streaming.

The Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning musical of the founding father’s life delivered a spike in app downloads on Walt Disney Co.’s /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS -0.68%  Disney+ over the July 4 weekend.

The movie version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s play premiered on Friday and, through Sunday, the Disney+ app was downloaded 752,451 times globally, including 458,796 times in the U.S., according to analytics firm Apptopia.

This represents a 74% jump in average downloads over the four weekends in June 2020, according to Apptopia data. Worldwide app downloads were 47% higher this past weekend than the average of the four prior Friday-Sunday totals. Worldwide numbers do not include India or Japan because Disney+ is delivered through pre-existing apps in those countries.

See also: ‘Hamilton’ and everything else coming to Disney+ in July 2020

Disney’s stock was flat in late-morning trading Tuesday.

No matter how you cut it, the runaway success of “Hamilton” — which some feared might bring down the internet — should provide a boom in its fierce competition with Apple Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL -2.27%  Apple TV+, Netflix Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202353025/composite NFLX -2.82%  , AT&T Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/203165245/composite T +0.60%  HBO Max, Amazon.com Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN -1.78%  Prime Video, and other streaming services.

Disney is banking on “Hamilton” to draw paying customers in droves. The movie, a “live” recording of the musical as it appeared on stage in New York, was shifted by Disney to a direct-to-streaming release a year before it was to scheduled to appear in theaters because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Since mid-June, Disney+ stopped offering a free seven-day trial offer in hopes that “Hamilton” would give it a bump in paid subscribers. As of early May, the service had 54.5 million subscribers world-wide just six months after its launch. It costs $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year in the U.S.

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Jon Swartz is a senior reporter for MarketWatch in San Francisco, covering many of the biggest players in tech, including Netflix, Facebook and Google. Jon has covered technology for more than 20 years, and previously worked for Barron's and USA Today. Follow him on Twitter @jswartz.

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