The world of streaming is a competitive one to say the very least. Services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and more are constantly scrambling to find an unassailable niche. Hulu struck gold after becoming a vehicle for next-day network TV viewing. Amazon pairs its platform with its wildly popular Prime service. Netflix still remains king despite all of this though, backed by the best original programming in all of streaming, and an expansive library of on-demand movies and TV shows. That throne was solidified too, thanks to a deal with Disney to stream their latest films.
However, CNBC reports that Disney will be ending its streaming deal with Netflix in 2019, in order to launch its own streaming service. Per Disney CEO Bob Iger, the current deal will remain in effect through the end of 2018. This means there are still many recent and upcoming Disney releases that will be landing on Netflix. Keep reading to find out which Disney movies are still available to stream on Netflix.
Zootopia was one of Disney’s first big successes of 2016, hauling in almost $1 billion at the global box office during its 11-week run in theaters. Thematically, it was a brilliantly simple yet effective breakdown of racial parity, the way our society defines equality, and the inherent flaws of racism. It’s the post-racial narrative that could have just as easily been a Pixar release, but instead ended up proving the mettle of Disney’s own animation house. At a breathtaking 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, there’s no denying its place in the pantheon of truly great animated movies.
2. The Jungle Book
Of all the pillars that hold up the Disney brand, their live-action remakes are some of the more controversial in terms of their necessity. Cinderella was widely panned as a “meh” sort of effort last year, while there’s a healthy share of skepticism surrounding the Emma Watson-led Beauty and the Beast coming out next year.
Sandwiched in between those was The Jungle Book, hitting theaters in April 2016. The film smartly stripped out most of the song-and-dance numbers from the cartoon, replacing it with a much more realistic and emotionally charged alternative. If this is what the rest of Disney’s live-action remakes will be like, you can color us convinced.
3. Captain America: Civil War
2016 has unquestionably been the year of the superhero. Netflix released Daredevil’s second season followed by Luke Cage in the fall. Warner Bros. unveiled the DC movie-verse with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, while Fox changed the game entirely with Deadpool. Still, the Marvel Cinematic Universe reigns supreme, evidenced by the skillfully executed Captain America: Civil War. Blending solid characterization, a coherent narrative, and clever writing, Civil War once again proved that Marvel Studios is unbeatable when it comes to comic book cinema.
4. Finding Dory
Zootopia isn’t the only animated movie Disney is running with in 2016. Pixar will enter the fray with Finding Dory, the sequel to the insanely popular Finding Nemo, that focuses on the amnesiac fish voiced by Ellen DeGeneres. Releases from the animation house in future years will only continue to pile up on Netflix, until the streaming service becomes the one-stop shop for any and all of our Pixar-related needs. For now though, they’ll have to be content with Finding Dory.
5. Doctor Strange
In keeping with Marvel’s two-movies-a-year schedule, Doctor Strange hit theaters in November 2016. It starred Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular Sorcerer Supreme, and was one of the more bizarre stories the MCU has featured to date. Its source material is crazy in and of itself, giving the studio plenty to pull from, while affording them a unique opportunity to show a different side of the Marvel movie-verse. For the first time in the franchise, we saw a movie that dealt solely in straight-up magic and mysticism (Thor excepted, although even the god of thunder tries to justify it as science we don’t fully understand yet).
Doctor Strange will likely hit Netflix sometime in early-2017 given its late-2016 release, but between this and Civil War, we already have a solid base of superhero cinema.
6. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Rogue One was Disney’s final release of 2016, ending the year on a high note for the studio. The prequel film is set directly before the events of A New Hope, following the exploits of the team of Rebels who stole the plans for the original Death Star. Because Star Wars: The Force Awakens released in 2015, Netflix actually won’t have exclusive rights to the first chapter in the new trilogy. But beginning with Rogue One, every subsequent Star Wars movie belongs solely to the streaming service. Of course there’s nothing to stop them from hosting the entire franchise on Netflix anyway, but other services will also have the right to do the same (for everything pre-Rogue One at least).
Zootopia wasn’t the only Disney animation movie to surprise fans in 2016. Moana brought the studio’s collection of princess movies into brand new territory, giving us a modern, updated version of the classic narrative. More than that, it also numbers itself as one of the most important Disney films in decades. Its progressive narrative and self-assured titular character make for a thrilling addition to their animated pantheon, providing us with an instant hit in the process.
8. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The sequel to James Gunn’s wildly popular Guardians of the Galaxy hits theaters May 5, 2017, putting it well within the required time frame for Disney’s Netflix deal. Following its theatrical release, it won’t be long until Baby Groot and company find their way onto the streaming service, saving you the hassle of either buying the Blu-ray, or forking out the cash to rent it.
9. Beauty and the Beast
After The Jungle Book proved once and for all that Disney’s live-action adaptations can work, it officially allowed us to get excited for the Emma Watson-led Beauty and the Beast. Buzz for the film is already hitting critical mass, with the first trailer netting more views than teasers for both The Force Awakens and Fifty Shades of Grey. And if the shot-for-shot remake of the original animated trailer is any indication, the live-action version will remain loyal to its source material.
10. Thor: Ragnarok
Rounding out 2017’s Marvel releases will be Thor: Ragnarok, directed by What We Do in the Shadows mastermind Taika Waititi. The film promises to be an entirely different kind of superhero movie, billed by Mark Ruffalo as an “intergalactic buddy movie” for Hulk and Thor. Suffice it to say, it’ll be more than worth a second viewing on Netflix once it leaves theaters.
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