Disney+ Removal Marks End of an Era

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Worried Mickey with Disney+ logo in background

Credit: Inside the Magic

Disney. Paramount. Hulu. Max. Netflix. The list of streaming platforms goes on.

While streaming platforms have been on the rise in recent years, the industry has boomed since the 2020 pandemic as more and more studios move to release streaming-only content or simultaneous theatrical and streaming releases.

Willow (Warwick Davis) looks across The Shattered Sea. Credit: Lucasfilm
Credit: Lucasfilm

However, as more and more studios turn to streaming, it’s affecting the amount of physical media that fans are able to get. This has become more of a problem as streaming platforms have started to remove content from their platforms completely. When Disney and Hulu merged earlier this year, they shocked subscribers by announcing they would also be removing various shows and movies.

This announcement came at the onset of the writers’ strike as demands for higher wages and increased streaming residuals went ignored by studios. Bit by bit, major streaming platforms have been pulling less than successful original content, including shows and movies. The issue has been raised again as Disney+ quietly removes its original movie, Crater, just under two months after it debuted on the platform.

Crater On Disney+
Credit: Disney

Crater features Mckenna Grace and Kid Cudi as citizens on a lunar colony. The film was released on May 12, 2023, and was pulled from Disney+ on June 30. The decision has been met with fan outrage at the idea of permanently losing content released by streaming platforms.

A post by @mmmmmmmmiller on Twitter brings up the fact that if a show or movie doesn’t exceed expectations, it’s immediately pulled, not giving it a chance to find the right audience.

There will never be another cult classic. If your movie or show underperforms, it will be removed from sight, and that eventual groundswell of support that’s turned everything from Blade Runner to Heathers from disastrous flops to huge successes will never find it. The end.

When studios decided to remove content, they often cite “cost-cutting reasons.” Effectively, this means two major things: they no longer have to pay residuals to writers and actors and they can write it off as a loss on their taxes. It’s a win-win scenario for the studios but a massive loss to everyone who worked on the project and any fans it had or may have had.

Blade Runner Rachel (Sean Young)
Credit: Warner Bros.

There are hundreds of movies that are now considered wildly successful cult classics that were complete box-office and studio flops upon initial release. Often times, these movies took years to decades to hit the right audience, but once they did, they shot to success and popularity, both mainstream and underground.

Tim Curry in Rocky Horror Picture Show
Credit: 20th Century

If studios only release content on their streaming platforms, it makes it nearly impossible for audiences to find it once it’s been removed unless another platform is able to secure streaming rights. Therefore, once it’s pulled from a streaming platform, it’s basically gone forever, never being given the chance to find the right audience and build a following.

To be fair, yes, there are absolutely still movies and TV shows that are released as physical media on DVDs or Blu-rays, or circulated around the internet some other way. However, studios have started to rely more on streaming releases even as reception has started to sour on streaming platforms.

Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) and Ronal (Kate Winslet). Credit: Disney
Credit: Disney

Unfortunately, it will be a few more years until the impact of this becomes truly clear. It’s possible that the industry can still shift in another direction before this becomes a major issue. Either way, one thing is clear: enjoy as much content as you can, while you can.

What do you think about the current trend with streaming platforms? Let us know in the comments below!

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