Disney's movies are some of the most popular films currently found on Netflix, but with Disney's own Disney+ streaming service set to bow in November, we know that those movies are on their way out...or are they?
It turns out that Disney and Netflix's agreement with each other might not be as simple as it first seemed. Disney's deal saw all of the studios's big theatrical releases, from Zootopia to Black Panther make the jump to Netflix, and while the earliest films from that deal have fallen off the service, and those the remain will be dropping off as well. Bloomberg is reporting that the deal between Netflix and Disney includes the stipulation that movies released between January 2016 and December 2018 will actually return to Netflix in 2026, and when they do they'll disappear from Disney+.
Similar stipulations reportedly impact several media distributors that are otherwise pulling their content back from Netflix.
While that means this won't happen for about seven years, it means that things aren't nearly as simple as they appeared between the two companies. We've certainly been given the impression that once Disney's 2018 blockbusters fall off the service, Disney would be in the clear to do with them what they wished. There's certainly been no indication that any of the content on Disney+ would ever need to be removed once it was added.
Of course, since it will be several years until we get to this issue, it's quite possible this will never come to pass. Disney and Netflix could always work out some sort of deal, that would probably involve Disney paying Netflix a lot of money, that would allow the Mouse House to get out of any holdover contract stipulations. The likelihood of that would all depend on how important losing three years of material on Disney+ might be to the service, and it will be years before we know the answer to that.
By then, Disney's collection of library and original content may be so strong that even losing major hits like Black Panther or Star Wars: The Last Jedi are no big deal.
It's also unclear for exactly how long these movies will be exclusive for Netflix. If the window each movie has on the streaming service is similar to the first time each of these films debuted on Netflix, it could be several years before everything is back on Disney+. The deal will also split up major franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars, so different chapters of each will be available in different places.
Nobody is quite sure what Disney+ means for Netflix's future success or for the growing streaming market as a whole, but it does seem like Netflix isn't going to be entirely without some major blockbusters in the future, and Netflix may be able to battle Disney+ with some of the studio's own movies.