Disney+: Will Disney’s Streaming Service Include All the Classics?

The world of streaming has badly needed some competition over the last few years as Netflix seemingly becomes complacent in their domination. Despite Netflix making a move to raise their rates again soon, how much will it hurt them once Disney+ goes live?

Disney’s streaming service has been eagerly awaited, and it’s almost here, even if still seeming so far away. There still aren’t official estimates when it begins, but some sources say likely by fall (albeit a media preview April 11).

Of course, the big question is on everyone’s mind: Will Disney include all their feature classics? Let’s examine what might happen and whether watching their iconic films would translate well on digital screens.

Disney+ might have the greatest streaming lineup of any service


If you don’t already think Disney has taken over the world, consider how much they could potentially place on Disney+. Their own classic catalog is vast enough, yet imagine being able to watch any Marvel movie or Star Wars sequel at will on your computer or tablet. This also includes all the Pixar classics, plus National Geographic documentaries.

When you think about how many vast fans these categories have, Netflix and Amazon should be quaking in their executive suits. Even more enticing is that they’re going to develop 18 movies and 16 TV shows directly through the platform. Disney-owned Hulu will continue to take up the adult programming side.

For true Disney fans, though, the classics mean so much. No matter if many of us have those classics on Blu-Ray already, being able to watch them whenever we want on a mobile device does bring a Pavlovian response.

Nevertheless, the Disney company did a good job of helping us not take the classics for granted.

The ‘Vault Series’ on DVD had moratoriums for a reason

Those of you who appreciate the near otherworldly beauty of classic Disney animation (and stellar writing) will know those films are like works of art to watch in their fullest glory. Having them on DVD was already a major convenience for purists. However, also having them go on moratorium in-between re-releases was arguably a smart marketing move so we’d always appreciate how outstanding they were.

Now with the possibility of them always being available through one mobile swipe, it’s a little like having original Van Gogh or Da Vinci paintings available to study whenever we want.

Walt Disney himself even understood not to oversaturate the market with his animated or live-action classics. So will viewers truly appreciate what they have, or will Disney still hold back on releasing classics to create anticipation?

Can the classics work on a mobile screen shape?

One positive thing about placing the old Disney animated classics on their streaming service is the picture ratios are mostly windowboxed. This means the 1.33:1 aspect ratio up until Disney started created their films in widescreen during the 1950s.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs through Cinderella are in this format and could easily be enjoyed on an iPad. The widescreen films (2.55:1) from the mid-1950s to today are maybe a different story. Then again, with rich color capabilities on most tablet devices, enjoying the aesthetic is what really matters.

Regardless, many people have grown up watching the classics on a movie screen or on a big-screen TV. It gives credence to the idea that maybe streaming through Disney+ will be more of a merge with TV rather than mobile.

What about other Disney classics like shorts and obscurities?

Disney | Alexander Pohl/NurPhoto

If Disney really wants to appeal to the Disney classic buff, they should provide everything, including the legendary animated shorts. These were once released in limited-edition DVD tins and titled Disney Treasures.

When you include everything else, it’s a vast potpourri of many things (including live-action films/documentaries), some of which have been forgotten. One of those is the controversial Song of the South from 1946. Offering this film would show Disney isn’t in this to sanitize their image.

From all indications, Disney won’t offer all the classics upon the service’s debut. It looks like they’ll roll them out gradually, which resembles their standard form of marketing in making sure we appreciate having these aesthetic wonders forever without them disappearing.