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Sitting Down with Disney

Sitting Down with Disney

Gill Archer, VP Hardlines, Disney Consumer Products EMEA, talks about the highly anticipated release of Moana 2 

When will Moana 2 be released theatrically? 

‘Moana 2’ will be released in cinemas this November. We can’t wait to bring fans more of Moana and Maui, along with a crew of new characters. 

Some of the press say the announcement of a Moana sequel as a movie instead of a TV series is a surprise! Why do you think this is? 

Moana remains an incredibly popular franchise, with the first film amassing an astounding 1 billion hours streaming on Disney+ in the last year alone. We know there’s huge appetite for more of Moana and while the content was initially developed as a series, it was so impressive that we felt it deserved to make a splash on the big screen as a feature film. 

Can you give us some snippets of the adventures Moana will head on in this new movie? 

‘Moana 2’ will take audiences on a new journey with fan favourites Moana and Maui, along with an ensemble of brand-new characters. When Moana receives an unexpected call from her ancestors, she must navigate unchartered waters in the dangerous and unpredictable far seas of Oceania. 

The first Moana was of course a huge box-office success and the licensing program was equally so. Can you expand on some of the licensing plans around the new release? 

Since its initial box-office success, Moana has become a streaming phenomenon that continues to capture audiences’ hearts. Nielsen found Moana to be the most streamed film in the US in 2023, with a staggering 11.6 billion viewing minutes – a true testament to its enduring appeal.

The catchy soundtrack is another key reason for its success – as proven by its 25 billion global music streams – 5.2 billion of which were in Europe and 1.5bn in the UK.

All of this is reflected in the affinity we see among consumers, and points to a wealth of product opportunities for licensees and retailers. Our recent consumer research shows that Moana ranks incredibly highly for affinity among girls aged 7-12 in our key EMEA markets. Moana as a franchise continues to excel, and the character is consistently among the top best-selling Disney Princess across our key toy product categories.

As we gear up for the release of ‘Moana 2’, the franchise’s continued popularity is evident across the board. We are already working with key collaborators including Jakks to offer fans a full range of products and are excited by what we’re seeing. Watch this space… 

And how will this differ, or tie-in, with the live-action version to be released next year?

The animated film and live-action film are separate, but fan reactions to both demonstrate how strongly the narrative resonates with audiences. We know fans are hugely excited about the animated sequel and our focus will be on ensuring our product offering truly brings to life Moana’s captivating world and all the beloved characters that inhabit it. ν

Nigel Cook, VP Brand Commercialisation & Retail, Disney Consumer Products EMEA, talks pre-school with Total Licensing

Our pre-school offering remains a key strategic priority, and has gone from strength to strength over the past 12 months. Content is key to this as a central touchpoint for kids engaging with characters, stories and franchises.

Some of our most successful evergreen properties like Spidey and his Amazing Friends and Mickey Mouse Funhouse are based on characters and stories we know resonate, and developed with top play patterns firmly front of mind. We’re seeing the benefits of this in consumer engagement – for example, Spidey continues to rank among the most popular pre-school shows. Season two launched on free-to-air channels in October 2023, and there’s more to come: the brand new Webspinners theme has launched on YouTube and owned channels, and season four was announced in June 2023.

Excitingly, we now have pre-school expressions for a wide range of Disney brands, and this expanded line-up of shows combined with our multi-plex strategy gives us the ability to reach the widest possible audience.

Newer properties like SuperKitties are also becoming more established and gaining fans in the pre-school space. Since launching early last year SuperKitties’ first full episode, has reached over 9.7 million views on Disney Junior YouTube, and season two is greenlit. The SuperKitties product ranges coming to market later this year promise to reinforce pre-schoolers’ connection to the franchise.

The same team behind the success of SuperKitties is also working on the upcoming pre-school Ariel series, which we’re incredibly excited about. This animated musical adventure series will build on the success of The Little Mermaid live action film last year, and also reflects the popularity of Princess and Mermaid play patterns with our target demographics. We’re already working with licensees on Ariel pre-school ranges that support skills building and key early development themes, and reflect the show’s fantastic musical repertoire; and we can’t wait for our preschool audience to see our new range of truly innovative products. 

The Ariel series will be supported on our own Disney channels, YouTube and Free to Air. ν

About The Author

Rebecca Ash

Rebecca is the Editorial Director at Total Licensing Ltd. She can be reached at

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