Disney+ just launched in November, but some movies are already disappearing from the service, as reported by Polygon. For example, the three Home Alone movies were available when Disney+ launched, but the first Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York were removed from Disney+ yesterday, the first day of the new year.
Movies going away from Disney+ kind of goes against the idea you might’ve had that it would be the place you could find everything Disney-related forevermore. (And you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that — in November, Disney did tell Comicbook that it, unlike some other services, wouldn’t have a “rotating slate” of licensed movies each month.) But that doesn’t exactly appear to be true, given that some movies have already been removed from the service, less than two months after launch.
Why? My colleague Julia Alexander confirmed with Disney that these removals are due to issues with legacy licensing deals:
Great story from Polygon. Can confirm that a small handful of Disney movies are running into issues with various legacy deals, and that's why they're being removed. Those movies will rejoin Disney+ permanently once licenses expire with their respective parties. https://t.co/BG1w2ZPmyz— Julia Alexander (@loudmouthjulia) January 2, 2020
The removals also came as something of a surprise, since Disney didn’t say that they would be leaving the service before pulling them. Content coming and going from streaming services is a reality most consumers are used to at this point, but other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu will at least announce what content is coming and going from their services on a monthly basis.
It’s unclear when Home Alone, Home Alone 2, or any of the movies that have already been removed may return to the service, although Disney says it’ll happen at some point. And other movies may also disappear from Disney+ in the future, as Bloomberg reported there’s a chance that huge Disney movies like Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Coco, among other late-decade titles, will return to Netflix starting “around 2026.” That suggests they wouldn’t be available on Disney+ that year — if Disney and Netflix’s current deal stands. But there’s always a chance the company could make a new deal with Netflix — like when it cut a new deal with Starz to get Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Disney+ at launch.
What this all means for the future is that Disney+ probably won’t ever have every Disney-owned movie at any one given time, and you can’t necessarily expect anything added to the service to stay forever. Until new and different deals are inked (if they ever are), if you see a movie you want to watch on Disney+, you might want to watch it as soon as you can.