Having a hard time finding some of Disney’s older films to watch? Don’t like the crowds at theaters, but don’t want to have to pay to buy a new Disney DVD when it’s released? Then you should love the news that broke last week: according to the LA Times, Disney and Netflix just reached a deal that will give the online rental and streaming site exclusive rights to Disney films. The deal takes effect in 2016, at which point Netflix will be able to stream any new films under the Walt Disney Corp. umbrella –which includes Marvel and Star Wars as well as Disney or Pixar – eight months after they are released in theaters.
The news isn’t entirely revolutionary. Many Marvel films have been available on Netflix Instant for a while, including “Thor” and “Captain America.” But it’s still fantastic to have an easy way to watch (or rewatch) Disney films within a year of their theatrical release.
But the much more exciting news involves Disney’s back catalog. That is, the Disney Vault. If you want to own old Disney films the Vault practice is unchanged, but if you just want to see them, you suddenly have more options. Another piece of Disney’s deal with Netflix, effective immediately, is the availability of older Disney films on streaming. Examples given by the LA Times include “Dumbo,” “Pocahontas,” and “Alice in Wonderland” (the 1950s animated version, not the 2010 Tim Burton).
When they say effective immediately, they aren’t kidding. When I first read the article, I logged in to my Netflix account. Right away I found the three aforementioned films available for instant viewing. I did some more digging, and found that Netflix is a veritable treasure trove of Disney films.
Most of these are from the Disney Channel, many of its recent original movies and television series. Other options include older live-action films, like “Air Bud” and recent Disney acquisitions like the original “Muppet Movie.” But there are plenty of other animated Disney films there. The full list, already counting the three above films, is “The Great Mouse Detective,” “The Rescuers Down Under,” The Brave Little Toaster 1 & 2,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “James and the Giant Peach,” “Fox and the Hound,” and the “Pocahontas” and “Tarzan” sequels.
It’s worth noting that most of the old Disney films available are the less popular ones. Aside from “Pocahontas,” none of the princess films are available (and Pocahontas rarely makes it into Disney’s own princess marketing). Cult favorites, like “The Emperor’s New Groove” or “Robin Hood” don’t appear. In some ways, though, that’s even better; the less popular films are harder to track down and released on DVD less often.
If you’re a Disney fan, then it just might be time to consider a Netflix subscription. Who knows what else the Mouse House might roll out on the streaming website? My vote is more Disney Channel original movies: this time, from the late 90s/early 00s.
What bits of the Disney catalog would you like to see available on Netflix streaming? Let us know in the comments.