Is ‘Pretty Woman’ Leaving Hulu in 2021?

The beloved ’90s romantic comedy Pretty Woman is available to stream on Hulu — at least, for now. For those who like to watch the movie over and over again while repeating lines like, “Big mistake. Big. Huge!” here’s what you need to know about how long much time is left to view it.

‘Pretty Woman’ premiered in 1990

Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in 'Pretty Woman'
Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in ‘Pretty Woman’ | Buena Vista/Getty Images

Pretty Woman starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, premiered on March 23, 1990. Roberts portrayed Vivian, a sex worker who Gere’s Edward Lewis hires to pose as his girlfriend while he’s working in Los Angeles. Despite the various obstacles in their way, the two fall in love with one another.

The movie initially began as a much darker story before shifting to its final romantic comedy tone. It was a challenging story to get behind, but [director] Garry [Marshall’s] take was much kinder and sillier,” actor Jason Alexander told People in 2020. “The possibility of these two impossibly mismatched people finding romance became the real hook, and the circumstances sort of faded away.”

Julia Roberts earned an Oscar nomination for her role

Julia Roberts on January 25, 2015, in Los Angeles, California.
Julia Roberts on January 25, 2015, in Los Angeles, California. | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

When Roberts was cast as Vivian, she was a relatively unknown actor. Many more prominent stars of the time, from Molly Ringwald to Diane Lane, were considered. She convinced Gere to star in Pretty Woman alongside her, and their chemistry helped to make it the rom-com it ultimately became.

Not only was Roberts the star of the film, but her performance was recognized as its highlight by many. She won the Golden Globe for Best Actress — Musical or Comedy for portraying Vivian. Roberts also earned her second Academy Award nomination in as many years — a feat relatively unheard of for a new face in Hollywood.

“I remember one day Richard Gere was walking around,” said Marshall’s wife, Barbara Marshall. “And I said, ‘Richard, what’s the matter? You look a little sad.’ And he said, ‘You know, I just realized I’m just the suit.’ I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ He said, ‘It’s her picture. She’s wonderful’ “

The film celebrated 30 years in 2020 

It’s hard to imagine the romantic comedy landscape without the effects of Pretty Woman. Not only did Roberts go on to become the face of the genre for the decade following its release, but many other movies debuting in the years after followed included nods to the film.

More than 30 years later, and Pretty Woman still significantly impacts its audience — even those who acted in it. “I saw the movie the other night,” Héctor Elizondo, who portrayed Vivian’s ally, the hotel manager Barnard, said in 2020. “I said, ‘Oh no, this is not going to get me, at the end with the rose in the mouth.’ Sure enough, you get a lump in your throat. You can’t help it, even me.”

Why is ‘Pretty Woman’ leaving Hulu?

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Even Pretty Woman’s most dedicated fans may be surprised to learn what studio is behind the hit movie: Disney. It was distributed by what was then known as Buena Vista Pictures.

“I said, ‘Garry, this is a Disney movie? This is very dark,'” Elizondo remarked of a conversation with Marshall when he read the original script. “And he says, ‘Don’t worry, Hector; we’ll make it nice. We’ll make it fun.’ And I said, ‘Good luck with that, pal.'”

Disney owns the majority share in Hulu. More and more Disney (and Fox, also owned by Disney) content has cropped up on the streaming service in recent years. This is why it was surprising to learn that, as of May 1, 2021, Pretty Woman will no longer be on Hulu.