As fans have known was going to happen from the start, some items are beginning to leave Disney+ already -- and while the moves are almost certainly temporary, it's still causing some confusion and frustration among audiences. Disney owns all of their own content, but that does not make them immune to deals they struck before Disney+ was a consideration, and so content -- especially premium content that will drive eyeballs -- will be coming and going from the service periodically over the next little while until deals with Netflix and other streaming providers gradually expire. Fans, unsurprisingly, have taken to Reddit to document what is missing at the start of 2020 that had been there in November when the platform launched.
The Reddit user who compiled the list of films you can see below (it's likely incomplete, but this is what he found), said that Disney had given him a vague explanation about "technical" reasons why the films were gone, but what's interesting is that they do not have placeholder pages giving fans a sense of when they will return (like many new releases do when Disney knows the expiration date of their existing Netflix deals, for instance).
That makes it more difficult to get a real bead on what's going on -- whether they are temporarily down, whether they are being migrated to another service due to contract questions (the most popular theory), or whether Disney is doing some strategic withholding -- something that they built much of their home video business on for years.
You can check out the list below.
The first two HOME ALONE movies
Home Alone and Home Alone 2 are established Christmas classics at this point, so it's interesting to see them vanishing off of Disney+ at the start of the New Year. According to a quick online search (which may obviously be outdated by a few days), the movies are not screening anywhere free unless you have a cable package (or something like Sling or YouTubeTV) that allows you to access recently-aired TV shows and movies on a DVR-like service.
These are not the only holiday-themed titles on the list, which raises potential questions about whether Disney might be "vaulting" the holiday movies to use them as bait next year, but more realistically the odds are they paid a chunk of money to whoever had it, so that they could have some of Fox's biggest holiday hits on the new Disney streaming service in the first holiday season of its existence...and now the holidays are over and it will revert to wherever it was before for a while longer.prevnext
With a new TV series reportedly planned, The Sandlot is one of Disney's more surprising franchises. A recently blu-ray release celebrating a film's anniversary introduced new features and some fun throw-ins, though, so it's distinctly possible that the home entertainment window for that played a role in changing the movie's streaming arrangements.prevnext
With a new version hitting theaters soon with Robert Downey, Jr., this is another movie that falls into the same basic mold as the holiday movies: it's probably just off somewhere else for a while, since demand is likely high -- but it could also be that Disney has briefly pulled it down in order to make its return (presumably just in time for the remake) that much more enticing.
Dr. John Dolittle (Rex Harrison) lives in a small English village where he specializes in caring for and verbally communicating with animals. When Dr. Dolittle is unjustly sent to an insane asylum for freeing a lovesick seal from captivity, his animals and two closest human friends, Matthew Mugg (Anthony Newley) and Tommy Stubbins (William Dix), liberate him. Afterward, they join Emma Fairfax (Samantha Eggar) and set out by boat to find a famed and elusive creature: the Great Pink Sea Snail.prevnext
In modern-day Wyoming, teenager Katy McLaughlin (Alison Lohman) dreams of working on and, one day, taking over her father's ranch. She tames a mustang and names her Flicka, then finds that she and her new equine companion are more alike than she imagined. After her father (Tim McGraw) sells Flicka, Katy schemes to win back the horse by entering a dangerous race.prevnext
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
This one feels like one of the most likely movies (along with Home Alone) to be in demand for services outside of Disney+. The Pirates franchise is one of the biggest brands native to Disney in the last 30 years or so, and while it certainly has experienced some serious diminishing returns, there's still a lot of fan enthusiasm for it.
The checkered past of Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) catches up to him when he encounters Angelica (Penélope Cruz), a beautiful pirate that Jack once loved then left. Angelica forces him to accompany her to the Queen Anne's Revenge, the ship of the notorious Blackbeard (Ian McShane). Accompanied by a zombie crew, the trio sets sail to find the legendary Fountain of Youth. However, Jack's rival, Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), also seeks the fountain, as does a ship from Spain.prevnext
Remember this thing? No? Well, probably nobody much does, but it's an animated feature from Lucasfilm, and one of the first releases from the studio behind Star Wars to be released after the Disney acquisition. So it's very possible that has made it an alluring gamble for some smaller streaming services.
Bog King (Alan Cumming) leader of the Dark Forest, hates the notion of love and has ordered the destruction of all primroses, which are an essential ingredient of love potions. However, when he meets Marianne (Evan Rachel Wood), a feisty fairy princess whose heart was broken by a philandering fiance, he begins to change his mind. Meanwhile, an elf named Sunny (Elijah Kelley) makes his way to the Dark Forest to collect enough primrose petals for a potion of his own.prevnext
Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration
Celebrating the holiday season at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort with music and special guests; performers include Ciara, Darius Rucker, Fifth Harmony, Fitz and the Tantrums, Hanson, In Real LIfe, Jason Derulo and Lea Michele.prevnext
The survey of arctic flora and fauna includes polar bears, lemmings, the musk ox, Beluga whales.prevnext
The Three Musketeers
This version is the one that features Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy.
Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy are lowly French peasants who dream of greatness as members of the musketeers. Though they are rejected by that elite unit, conniving Pete hires them to "protect" Princess Minnie Mouse, believing their incompetence will make it easier for him to usurp the throne. Naturally, Minnie is instantly smitten with Mickey. And though the trio is a bit overzealous at first, they work together to uncover and foil Pete's nefarious plot.prevnext
Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties
Garfield (Bill Murray) follows Jon (Breckin Meyer) to England and receives the royal treatment after he is mistaken for the heir to a grand castle. However, the feline will need all nine lives to foil the plans of evil Lord Dargis (Billy Connolly), who wants to turn the castle into a resort.prevnext
The Shaggy Dog
Deputy District Attorney Dave Douglas (Tim Allen) is a workaholic and frequently puts his job before his family. After taking on a case involving an animal laboratory, he becomes infected with a top-secret serum that transforms him into a dog. Life as a canine gives Dave new perspective on the importance of family, but before he can make things right with his wife and kids, he must sniff out the villains responsible for the serum.prev