All ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Movies To Be Stripped From Streaming Service

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Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins falling into flames

Credit: New Line Cinema

Soon, fans won’t be able to watch The Lord of the Rings movies as they are being pulled from the streaming service.

Frodo (Elijah Wood) with the One Ring falling onto finger, from Lord of the Rings
Credit: New Line Cinema

The Lord of the Rings trilogy by Peter Jackson and based on the classic J.R.R. Tolkien novels of the same name transported audiences to the world of Middle-earth back in the early 2000s. A feat of cinema, the trilogy is one of the most praised and lauded franchises of all time.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) was followed by The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), and finally, the Academy Award-winning Best Picture The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). The trilogy stars an A-list cast, including Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins, Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Christopher Lee as Saruman, Orlando Bloom as Legolas, and Liv Tyler as Arwen.

And while some have been tuning into a certain Disney-owned streaming service to catch some installments of the franchise, soon they will no longer be able to.

Aragorn talking to Gandalf in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Credit: New Line Cinema

The Lord of the Rings on streaming.

According to a new press release from Hulu (which is majority-owned by Disney, with NBCUniversal holding a minor stake), September will see the removal of the entire currently available Lord of the Rings franchise movies from the streaming service. These include The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King from the original trilogy, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), the first movie in the prequel film series starring Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins.

At present, these are the only Lord of the Rings movies on the Hulu streaming platform, as The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and the other two Hobbit movies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) and The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies (2014) can only be found over on Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max (formerly HBO Max) streaming service.

Martin Freeman as Bilbo from The Hobbit movies with his sword, Sting, in the ground of a cave
Credit: New Line Cinema

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It is likely, as audiences have seen time and time again with other movies (like the Harry Potter franchise), that contractual agreements or other deals have caused the Disney-owned Hulu to remove The Lord of the Rings franchise, but it also continues the negatively-received Disney trend of cost-cutting through content curation.

Earlier this year, former Disney Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy stated that Disney expected the Disney+ service to become profitable by the end of fiscal 2024. Following this, McCarthy and reinstated Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger announced that a robust content curation for the streaming service would be put in motion, and in late May, the axe fell.

Bob Iger in front of the Disney+ library on fire
Foreground Image Credit: Thomas Hawk, Flickr

Many projects were removed from Disney+ due to the cost-cutting measures; Iger hopes to save $5.5 billion across all factions of the company. Lucasfilm’s canceled Willow series got the chop, as did the new movie Crater (2023), which only stayed on the streamer for seven weeks.

The Disney+ course correction has also seen franchises like Marvel Studios pull back on their output. After Iger stated that he didn’t think Marvel knew what they were doing in TV, the studio has only released one project — Secret Invasion — this year.

Bob Iger posing in front of several screens displaying various Disney owned properties
Credit: Disney

Related: New ‘Lord of the Rings’ Project Rejected by Fans, Despite Positive Changes

Streaming, at least for Disney, is still in its infancy, but another loss of subscribers in its third fiscal quarter is another sign that more extreme measures could be coming.

The Lord of the Rings movies will expire on Hulu on September 30, 2023. For those wanting more Middle-earth action, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power can be streamed on Amazon Prime Video. Next year, The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim (2024) animated movie will release from Warner Bros. Pictures on April 12, 2024.

Are you upset that these Lord of the Rings movies are leaving Hulu? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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