By at least one metric, Hamilton has proven itself to be a massive hit for Disney+. The hit Broadway show debuted on the streaming service over the weekend, with a filmed version of the musical featuring the original cast released as a movie. This allowed people who were never able to afford a pricey theater ticket the chance to see it and, as it turns out, that drove an awful lot of traffic Disney's way.

According to analytics firm Apptopia, the Disney+ app was downloaded 513,323 times globally, including 266,084 times in the U.S. over the Fourth of July weekend. During that Friday to Sunday frame, downloads were 72.4 percent higher than the previous four weekends. Downloads were 46.6 percent higher, on average, worldwide. That represents a stunning increase largely based on the strength of a single release. It speaks volumes about the power of Hamilton and certainly helps to justify the large amount of money Disney shelled out for the rights, which were highly sought after.

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Disney paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $75 million for the rights to Hamilton. It is thought to be one of the richest movie acquisition deals in history. But Lin-Manuel Miranda's award-winning musical about Alexander Hamilton became a downright pop culture phenomenon over the last handful of years. Having the chance to showcase that for a wider audience was a clear home run. Originally, Disney intended to give it a wide theatrical release next year. And it's easy to see why. This likely would have been a box office behemoth. Instead, with theaters shut down, they opted to make a splashy streaming play. Based on these numbers, that may have been a wise decision.

There are a few important considerations to go along with the app downloads. For one, Disney+ stopped offering free trials recently. So anyone that wanted to sign up just to watch Hamilton still had to shell out for at least a month of the service, which goes for $6.99. It is also well worth noting that these figures reflect mobile app downloads. Other devices such as smart TVs and video game consoles were not factored in. That means the gains for Disney+, when looking at the whole picture, were likely even larger.

Thomas Kail directed the performance of Hamilton that was filmed for the movie release. Aside from the increased app downloads, it has been praised at near-universal levels by critics, as it currently sits at 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. One big question is whether or not there is enough content on Disney+ to retain a healthy percentage of these new subscribers. A good chunk of them may bail after a single month. Still, even retaining a chunk of those gains in the long term should make this a big win for Disney as the streaming wars continue to heat up. This news comes to us via Variety.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott