If you weren’t already planning on subscribing to Disney’s new streaming service Disney+, this news will probably tip you over the edge. During an investors meeting today, Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed (per CNBC) that it would at some point “put its entire motion picture library on the service, including movies that have traditionally been kept in its archives.” Yes, that means the controversial “Disney Vault”, which is a brilliant marketing ploy to drive up home video sales.
For those unaware, Disney doesn’t traditionally make all of its films available on home video at all times. Instead, it puts them in a “vault” (i.e. stops printing new copies) for a period of time, then re-opens said vault to drive up sales for an older film as a “new release.” See: The recent “Signature Edition” of The Little Mermaid that was just released on Blu-ray six years after the “Diamond Edition” of the film was released.
This is huge news, if true. I’m still a little dubious that Disney is going to put everything on Disney+. Like, are they really going to trot out Song of the South, a horribly racist 1946 film that has been buried by Disney? The studio has thus far refused to release that film on DVD, so I have a hard time believing it’ll be up on Disney+.
However, even if only 50% of Disney’s entire library of films goes up on Disney+, that’s a treasure trove of classics both beloved and forgotten available on streaming for the very first time. Fantasia, Pinocchio, and The Jungle Book alongside new classics like Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph, and Zootopia? Yes please.
Disney hasn’t set a firm date for when Disney+ will launch just yet beyond “later in 2019,” but the service isn’t expected to be insanely pricey. Iger previously revealed the service would cost less than Netflix, but it’s also possible that will change once content plans are firmed up. In addition to library titles from Disney, Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm, Disney+ will also include new TV shows from those same companies that will only be available on Disney+, like the first-ever live-action Star Wars TV show The Mandalorian.
So yeah, if you’re a parent and you thought simply not buying Frozen on Blu-ray would prevent you from having to watch it over and over again, if you spring for Disney+, expect that to change. On the flipside, think of all the classics that will be readily available to a younger generation. Exciting stuff.
For a refresher on what may be coming to the streaming service, check out our ranking of every Disney animated movie ever made.