Bryan ClarkFormer Managing Editor, TNW
Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.
Disney’s fabled Vault was where fans of classic releases like Cinderella or The Little Mermaid, got their fix. Every few years Disney would open the Vault, releasing a classic title to DVD or Blu-Ray before quietly locking it away again for years as a way to drum up interest. It was a genius move that many thought would go extinct with the release of Disney Plus.
It hasn’t. When the calendar flipped a page to 2020, users started noticing that films were going missing from the Disney Plus streaming library. Gone were Dr. Doolittle, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Home Alone, Home Alone 2, and The Sandlot.
Disney hasn’t said anything about the departures, nor has it issued a press release explaining why they’ve gone missing or when (if?) they’ll return. TNW has reached out to Disney for more information and will update this piece if necessary.
In fairness, Disney never explicitly guaranteed anything. Company representatives only promised titles like Bambi, Beauty and the Beast, and Peter Pan — its 13 film Signature Collection — would be available on day one. The Signature Collection seems to be a lock, as Disney CEO Bob Iger seemingly confirmed this much in March of last year by saying “[Disney Plus] would house the entire Disney motion picture library,” before clarifying that he was talking about “the movies that you speak of that traditionally have been kept in the ‘vault’ and brought out basically every few years.”
None of Disney’s recent comments, however, seem to explain the titles that have already gone missing from Plus.
We know that some of its biggest flicks, like Black Panther — and any movie released between January 2016 and December 2018, basically — would be back on Netflix in or around 2026.
It’s not the first time titles have mysteriously disappeared from Disney Plus, either. In 2019, movies like Garfield 2: A Tail of Two Kitties and The Shaggy Dog were also removed.
But it’s also been adding new titles to the library. Cool Runnings and Holes, for example, were some of the dozen-plus titles added in November alone.
For the time being, it seems best to embrace uncertainty. Disney will be adding and removing titles based on licensing deals and complications for the immediate future. Unfortunately, unlike Netflix and HBO, Disney doesn’t seem open to the idea, at least not yet, of offering us some advance notice to get those last minute binge sessions in before our favorites disappear.
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