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If you're getting prepared for Independence Day weekend, why not throw a selection of films to watch into the schedule? A little bit of The Patriot could start things off, followed by some Captain America: The First Avenger, and then – of course – that perennial favorite Rocky IV. Besides themes of patriotism, those three movies have something else in common: as of July 1st, none of them will be on Netflix Instant. While that's not a big deal for the first two, as they've been removed prior to this printing, Rocky IV is still on Netflix Instant... at least, for a little while longer it will be.
Variety has picked up the news that the first five films in the Rocky franchise that are currently on Netflix will be removed tomorrow. The trade tried to reach Netflix for a comment and they haven't gotten any response so far. Their best guess at this moment is that AMC Network's July 3rd Rocky marathon is the reason that the titles have been pulled. However, that only covers the first three movies, and on top of that – other films have been on both Netflix and another cable/VOD platform at the same time. So what could possibly be the reason for Rocky Balboa receiving a TKO from the company with the red envelopes?
Simply put: MGM has a history of being wonky with its rights, especially with titles like the Rocky films and more notoriously the James Bond series. Several times now the studio has had several 007 titles on the streaming service at one point, only to pull them after a window that has been as short as a couple of weeks in the past. When offering legacy titles like these on Netflix, studios want to strike a balance between convenience and profitability. Considering MGM's recent financial history, they're going to want to go with the better paying contract, and AMC probably offers them a fair deal that pays them well and offers limited/optimally piqued interest to the audience that enjoys the Rocky series.
Long story short: don't fret, movie fans, because Rocky through Rocky III will be running on AMC July 3rd, starting at 9 am. If you're impatient, or if you're more interested in owning the series at an affordable price, Amazon currently has the Rocky: Heavyweight Collection at the competitive price of $33.33. That set includes all six films, so you can pick and choose how and what you watch as you please, as well as enjoy the various special features offered in the set.
It sucks that Rocky is getting pulled from the Netflix Instant queue, but at the very least it offers the studio and the streaming service a chance to put some new titles into play that might not have been there otherwise. It's just another one of the perks and pitfalls when you're living in America. After all, different regions have different agreements, so while the American Netflix service might not have Rocky streaming, international regions still might.