Why Disney+ Subscribers Shouldn’t Be Freaking Out Movies Are Being Pulled

From its very announcement up to its November 2019 launch, Disney+ seemed like every Disney fan’s dream come true. A nexus of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic content felt like a game-changer for the streaming wars. And for the most part, it has been. In its first week, Disney+ debuted with some impressive numbers.

But with several new streaming services coming soon, it’s unclear if Disney+ will pose a long-term threat to leaders like Netflix. Now that the only real breakout Disney+ series has ended its first season, subscribers are left waiting to see what’s next. The fact that content is leaving Disney+ only two months in has some worried. Here’s why they shouldn’t be.

The Disney + logo on a television screen
The Disney + logo on a television screen | Chesnot/Getty Images

Disney+ pulled several big movies

With so much fan-favorite programming, Disney+ looked like it could only build its library. After all, unlike other streaming services, the studio straight-out owns all the content it offers on the site. So fans were taken aback when a bunch of titles began to disappear recently.

Admittedly, none of the marquee titles — e.g., Marvel or Star Wars films, animated classics, or Pixar releases — were cut. Yet, just after the holiday season, both Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York were removed. Such a blow must have hurt those fans looking to savor the Christmas spirit a bit longer.

Those two hit Fox titles weren’t the only ones to be pulled from the site. 1998’s Dr. Dolittle, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and The Sandlot were also removed. Granted, the bulk of the missing titles are either from the newly acquired Fox side or are lesser Disney titles like Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers.

The complicated reason behind it

Still, a precedent had been set that left subscribers feeling uneasy. But just because some titles leave Disney+ doesn’t mean they’re gone for good. As Gizmodo reported, the decision to pull a small selection of titles is a remnant of licensing deals that predate the streaming service’s launch.

Once those contracts expire, all of these titles — including the recently cut oddity Strange Magic — will inevitably return. We imagine a company as large as Disney has countless deals in place, especially on the Fox side. So these previously established contractual obligations will continue to plague the streaming service.

The biggest obstacle standing between Disney+ and a complete library is its standing Netflix deals. Subscribers have already noted many newer and classic releases will not be available until 2021 or later. And according to reports, many movies will move back over to Netflix in 2026. So fans better get used to the chaos.

Lots of new content is on the way

At least 2020 is shaping up to be a bright year for Disney+. The streaming service is beefing up its content library a lot in January. Hits like the 2019 editions of Aladdin and The Lion King will land on the streaming service, as will past hits like Holes, Cool Runnings, and Red Tails. Shows like The Proud Family, Austin and Ally, and Marvel’s The Super Hero Squad Show, and The Runaways Season 3 will join the mix as well.

From beloved existing properties to its original content, Disney+ still brings an eclectic mix of programming to subscribers. The complex nature of licensing deals means some content will disappear now and again. But the streaming service still offers an incredible range of movies and shows for the whole family.

Is it an inconvenience to see a few titles leave the site? Perhaps. But so far at least, Disney+ has done a solid job at keeping the most popular titles firmly in place. As long as they keep doing that, we can’t imagine most fans will even notice the changes, let alone complain.