Disney handed some bad news to Netflix today. The movie and TV studio confirmed that new entries in its Star Wars and Marvel film franchises will be pulled off Netflix and make their post Blu-Ray and DVD debuts on Disney’s previously announced steaming video service. It is currently scheduled to launch sometime in late 2019.
Disney entered an agreement with Netflix a few years ago that would allow the streaming service to show new movies from its Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel brands, and that agreement officially began about a year ago. Since then, movies like Zootopia, Captain America: Civil War, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story have been shown on the service less than a year after they made their theatrical debut.
Disney first announced in August its plans to launch its own competing streaming service, along with one for its ESPN sports channel. However, there was still some hope that Netflix would continue to be the post-theatrical home for Star Wars and Marvel movies. That hope ended today, with statements made by Disney CEO Bob Iger at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2017 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference.
What does that mean? When Disney’s service goes online, new movies such as Marvel’s fourth Avengers movie, Star Wars: Episode IX, Frozen 2, and the live action version of The Lion King will be shown on the service, instead of Netflix. Iger added today that the new Disney service will also be the home to four exclusive films, along with between four and five TV series. Pricing for the service has yet to be revealed.
Netflix will still have the rights to offer the more immediate Marvel and Star Wars films in Disney’s lineup before its agreement ends. That includes Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and the untitled Han Solo movie. There’s no word yet on the ultimate fate of the many Netflix-exclusive Marvel TV shows (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher, The Defenders).
Netflix now has over 100 million subscribers worldwide, but Disney’s move to launch its own streaming service could be its biggest competitive threat yet. Netflix has been slowly making deals of its own to create its own original content that are not owned or made by Disney or other Hollywood studios. In August, Netflix announced it had acquired Millarworld, formed by famed comic book writer Mark Millar that has released a number of acclaimed titles, many of which have been adapted into feature films (Wanted, Kingsman, and others).
A few weeks ago, Netflix announced a new deal with Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes. Her Shondaland production company will now make new TV shows, and other projects, for Netflix, in a big blow to her former network ABC (which happens to be owned by Disney).