It’s barely been a year since Netflix became the exclusive site for streaming Disney movies. Now, in a stunning reversal, the House of Mouse has announced it plans to pull its films from the service and start up one of its own in 2019.
The original programming might have been a bit grim, but Jan Dodonna thought his Disney subscription was worth every credit. Image: Lucasfilm
Announced during its earnings report today, Disney confirmed plans to remove all of its movies from the service and end its streaming agreement with Netflix in 2019, meaning that movies such as Toy Story 4 or Frozen 2, both due out that year, will not come to Netflix. Exclusive rights were only granted to Netflix by Disney starting last September, making it the only place to stream new Disney, Marvel, Pixar, and — as of June, with the arrival of Rogue One on the platform — Star Wars movies.
After the deal is nullified, Disney is planning to launch its own streaming service some time in 2019 as well, so don’t expect those movies to show up anywhere else. (Hooray for having to get a billion proprietary subscription services to stream the content you want!) The current deal only affects rights to new Disney movies, so it has no effects on Netflix’s current relationship with Marvel to develop shows such as Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, but this is still a big blow to Netflix’s catalogue of movies.
However, a press release posted to the official Walt Disney website does confirm that Disney’s planned streaming service will not just be the exclusive home for its theatrical movies, but also new original content, including movies and TV programming:
The new Disney-branded service will become the exclusive home in the U.S. for subscription-video-on-demand viewing of the newest live action and animated movies from Disney and Pixar, beginning with the 2019 theatrical slate, which includes Toy Story 4, the sequel to Frozen, and The Lion King from Disney live-action, along with other highly anticipated movies. Disney will also make a significant investment in an annual slate of original movies, TV shows, short-form content and other Disney-branded exclusives for the service. Additionally, the service will feature a vast collection of library content, including Disney and Pixar movies and Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD television programming.
Speaking to the press on a media call in the wake of the announcement, Disney CEO Bob Iger noted that while Disney’s own movies would definitely move over to the new services, the rights of the Star Wars and Marvel films are still being decided — and in fact, those movies specifically could stay exclusive to a place like Netflix:
Meanwhile, Iger also further confirmed that the current deal Netflix has with Marvel to produce and stream the Defenders series of shows will continue, with the shows staying on Netflix after 2019:
"But Iger told CNBC's Julia Boorstin on "Closing Bell" that Marvel shows will stay on Netflix." https://t.co/YuvRs1PzHo
— Daredevil ManWithoutFear.com (@manwithoutfear) August 8, 2017
We reached out to Netflix for a comment on the announcement, but had not heard back at time of writing.