The idea of a streaming service hosting all of the films, shorts and series from a studio’s catalogue hasn’t been a reality for a long time, since, over the past few years, we’ve seen many films and shows removed from Disney+ for various reasons, such as licensing, but mainly all down to Disney trying to cut costs.
Last summer, we saw Disney remove over a hundred original shows and films, including “Willow”, “Mighty Ducks: Game Changers” and “Crater”, as part of an impairment charge to save the company over $2 billion dollars in write-offs. While most of the original films are available to purchase on digital platforms, all of the removed original shows still aren’t available to watch legally.
In the United States, it’s pretty common for a few titles each month to be removed from Disney+ temporarily due to previous contracts made years ago with other streaming platforms before Disney purchased 20th Century Fox. And in the UK, many licensed European films also tend to come and go. Holiday and musical specials also tend to only stay around on Disney+ for a limited period of time, such as a recent documentary about “The Beatles” or Christmas Parades down Main Street, USA.
Just over a year ago, Disney went on a huge purge across Disney+, removing hundreds of titles and today, Disney+ subscribers in many countries across Europe, including the United Kingdom, will have much less content to enjoy, as over eighty films and shows have been removed without warning.
Many of the films removed today include classic Disney and Disney Channel movies, including:
- America’s Heart & Soul
- The Sandlot
- Because of Winn-Dixie
- The Shaggy Dog
- The Ugly Dachshund
- The Absent-Minded Professor
- That Darn Cat
- Can of Worms
- Far from Home: The Adventures of Yellow Do
- Hello Dolly
- Double Teamed
- Shortsgiving with Big City Greens
- The Computer That Wore Tennis
- Richie Rich Christmas Wish
- The Reluctant Dragon
- Snowball Express
- So Random
- Minute Men
- Sacred Planet
- Roving Mars
- Zenon: Girl Of The 21st Century
- Swiss Family Robinson
- Teacher’s Pet
- The Cat From Outer Space
- Miracle at Midnight
- Doug’s 1st Movie
- The Ultimate Christmas Present
- The Secret Of The Magic Gourd,
- Smart House
- The Million Dollar Duck
- The Country Bears
- The Ghosts of Buxley Hall
- The Strongest Man in the World
- Miracle in Lane 2
- Newsies: The Broadway Musical
- Mr. Boogedy
- Bride of Boogedy
- Max Keeble’s Big Move
- Operation Dumbo Drop
- Mom’s Got a Date With a Vampire
- Justin Morgan had a Horse,
- Snowball Express
- Babes in Toyland
- Born Wild: The Next Generation
- Andi Mack
- And many more.
There has also been a lot of ESPN 30 For 30 documentaries removed from Disney+ in many European countries, including the UK, including:
- Big Shot
- Pony Excess
- Brothers in Exile
- In Search of Derrick Thomas,
- Run Ricky Run
- Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-off
- The Birth of Big Air,
- Who Killed The USFL?
- Small Potatoes
- Brian and the Boz
- Silly Little Game
- The Gospel According to Mac
- Youngstown Boy
- Kings Ransom,
- The Two Bills
- And many more.
Over the past few days, we’ve seen this list of removed titles continue to grow, and it’s likely more removals will be happening in the next few days, based on how this happened in the past.
The recent removals do seem to target older Disney films, maybe ones that aren’t that popular or being watched enough, but for fans of classic Disney content, these removals seem unnecessary.
Over the years, we’ve seen many titles removed from Disney+, only to be added back again eventually, sometimes this is because there has been an error or a glitch in the system. But we’ve also seen titles removed because they’ve been licensed out to other streaming platforms.
Currently, these titles are still available on Disney+ in many countries like the US since these removals seem limited to a few countries in Europe, so they might not necessarily be removed globally, which we’ve seen in the past with some originals and National Geographic titles. But we’ve seen this happen in the past, where removals begin in one country and spread.
What makes these removals more annoying for Disney+ subscribers is that most of these titles are owned by Disney; they aren’t licensed content. However, it’s important to note that hosting films and shows on streaming services isn’t free, since the studios will still often have to pay residuals to the cast and creators, as well as music licensing and server costs.
It’s not like a DVD just sitting on your shelf, there are some costs for Disney in offering these titles, but it does feel like penny-pinching to be removing these titles while spending hundreds of millions of dollars on new content while there is a wealth of classic content available. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see these popping up on Amazon Prime Video or Netflix as a way for Disney to make a quick buck on short-term licensing.
These removals are just another reminder that any streaming service isn’t your own personal collection, and you’re merely renting access to a library of content. This is why the decline in physical media is worrisome, as many titles can only be found on streaming services.
In the past, Disney has said that they regularly review the library available on Disney+ and make decisions that make the most sense for business. I’ve reached out to Disney for a comment and clarification regarding the recent removals.
Hopefully, these removals are just a temporary glitch, and they will be returned, but losing so many classic old Disney films does feel against the very idea of what Disney+ promised to be: a home for all your favourite Disney movies!
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