With Disney's own streaming service on the horizon, we've known for some time that all the Disney content that has been going to Netflix for the last couple of years would cease at some point. However, we had little visibility to exactly when the studios top releases would stop appearing on Netflix. Based on new details revealed by Disney, it appears that the recently released Ant-Man and the Wasp will be the last Marvel movie to hit Netflix before the current deal between the two ends.
Yesterday Disney held its quarterly earnings report conference call and, as expected, the primary topic under discussion was the forthcoming Disney streaming service, (which really needs to announce its actual name so we can stop calling it that). Disney chairman Bob Iger revealed that the current deal with Netflix ends as soon as 2019 starts, which means that all 2018 releases including Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and, finally, Ant-Man and the Wasp will end up on Netflix first.
That doesn't mean that there won't still be some Disney films available on Netflix in 2019. Based on the time frame between theatrical release and Netflix release, and the amount of time films have stayed on Netflix before being removed, these last Marvel films may be around for a while. Thor: Ragnarok, which was released last November, hit Netflix in June, which means its likely Ant-Man and the Wasp won't even hit Netflix until sometime in early 2019.
In addition to Netflix, Disney also sees movies shown on the Starz cable channel and its associated streaming service. This clearly will also be going away either at the beginning of 2019 or before, as Bob Iger said during the recent earnings call that the film slate was "unencumbered" by any existing partnerships beginning in 2019.
It seems clear that, while new movies may not be subject to the current deals, older films won't be free immediately. Bob Iger was careful to manage expectations as clearly not everything that Disney fans are going to want to see will be on the Disney service on day one. He said this was the reason that original content, like the new Star Wars TV series and movies like the live-action Lady and the Tramp were being produced, to help bolster what the service had to offer.
One expects that all the MCU movies that aren't being shown on either Starz or Netflix will be on the service when it starts, and once the Netflix window for Ant-Man and the Wasp runs out, the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe will only be available on the Disney service. For this reason alone, many fans will probably subscribe to the service, though exact pricing and a launch date have not been announced.
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