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Disney releases the first looks at 'Disenchanted' and a live-action 'Little Mermaid'

Disenchanted cast members Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, Idina Menzel, Gabriella Baldacchino, Yvette Nicole Brown, Jayma Mays, Maya Rudolph and Amy Adams appear onstage Friday during the D23 Expo 2022 in Anaheim, Calif.
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 09: (L-R) Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, Idina Menzel, Gabriella Baldacchino, Yvette Nicole Brown, Jayma Mays, Maya Rudolph, and Amy Adams speak onstage during D23 Expo 2022 at Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California on September 09, 2022. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

Updated September 10, 2022 at 4:14 PM ET

It's been a buzzy few days at Disney's D23 Expo.

Among the many announcements about upcoming projects from the media giant were two new trailers for popular film franchises.

The first, Disenchanted, is the follow-up to 2007's Enchanted, which saw Amy Adams play an agreeable but naive princess hopeful dropped from the fictional land of Andalasia into present-day New York City.

Adams returns for the sequel — along with fellow original cast members Patrick Dempsey, Idina Menzel and others — in which she moves to the suburbs but discovers that "her happily ever after hasn't been so easy to find."

Disenchanted will stream on Disney+ starting Nov. 24.

Disney is also whetting fans' appetites with a teaser for its live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid, the animated classic that hit theaters in 1989.

The trailer gives a brief look at star Halle Bailey playing the lead role of Ariel.

Melissa McCarthy co-stars as Ursula, Javier Bardem plays Triton, and Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda have written four new songs for the film.

The Little Mermaid comes to theaters on May 26, 2023.

One is going to theaters — but not the other

Michael Smith, a professor of information technology and marketing at Carnegie Mellon University, said the company's investment in Disney+ means it can choose to give one movie a streaming debut and the other a theatrical release.

Smith said that strategy allows Disney to put out projects that may not have the mass-market appeal to attract audiences to the cinema.

"That's just fine for some movies, say Little Mermaid, that have the built-in name recognition and mass-market appeal you need to get people into the theater on the opening weekend. But it doesn't work for every movie," Smith told NPR.

"With a streaming release, Disney can use their subscriber data to target [ Disenchanted] to the right initial audience (Amy Adams fans, non-traditional fairy-tale stories, Adam Shankman's directing style), and then give the movie time to breathe on the platform so people can discover it through word of mouth (which is the way many people discovered Ted Lasso on AppleTV)," he wrote.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.