Willow, a sword and sorcery series that was omitted off Disney’s streaming platform after only six months, cost the studio $105.9 million (£83.1 million).
When Disney purchased Lucasfilm from George Lucas, they acquired not only Star Wars and Indiana Jones, but also Willow, the famous 1988 fantasy picture starring Warwick Davis. For years, there had been whispers of a sequel, but the franchise ultimately returned with an eight-episode series that debuted on Disney+ last year. However, after only six months, Disney terminated Willow and withdrew it from the streaming site.
Forbes reported that Disney spent $105.9 million on producing Willow, which is a lot to shell out for something that can currently not be watched legally. However, because the series was made in the United Kingdom, it was able to benefit from several reimbursements. Willow earned a $20.4 million reimbursement for filming in the United Kingdom and an extra $5.1 million compensation for filming in Wales specifically, bringing the net budget on the show down to $80.4 million.
During the Covid outbreak, studios were willing to spend extravagantly in order to lure in subscribers, but Willow lacked the audience to justify its funding. According to reports, the show had the lowest audience for a Disney+ series at the time, with less than 500,000 households watching the first two episodes in their first five days of release.
When it was announced that Willow would be taken out from Disney+, showrunner Jon Kasdan reacted with remarkable calm: “I’ve been quiet on this news that Willow is leaving Disney+ ’cause… I’m kinda into it,” Kasdan posted on Twitter. “I grew up at a time when Disney movies were periodically re-released and not available to own, and it made them… more special.” Kasdan added, “I worry about many things… but NONE of them are that Willow will never be available again, either on Disney+ or perhaps… someplace else, & ya never know where that could lead… stranger things have happened. So grateful for all the love and enthusiasm; it’s truly what keeps these worlds alive.“
Although Jon Kasdan is hopeful that the series may return for a second season in the future, it is highly doubtful Disney will fund another $100 million on yet another sequel that few people will watch.
A 2-minute trailer was released for Willow by Lucasfilm on YouTube, garnering it more than 3.5 Million views and 48K+ likes:
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