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Disney to remove Willow, Y: The Last Man, and original movies from Disney Plus and Hulu to save cash

Time to burn through your backlog

Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) shoots fire from a magical flamethrower in Lucasfilm’s WILLOW Image: Lucasfilm
Toussaint Egan is a curation editor, out to highlight the best movies, TV, anime, comics, and games. He has been writing professionally for over 8 years.

Disney is preparing to remove over 50 series and specials from Disney Plus and Hulu starting next week, according to a Deadline report published on Thursday. Disney announced its intentions to remove content during an earnings call last week. Titles soon to be removed across Disney Plus and Hulu include Willow, Y: The Last Man, Diary of a Future President, The Mysterious Benedict Society, Little Demon, Star Girl.

On the earnings call, Disney CFO Christine McCarthy said the removal of the series and films was meant to “align with the strategic changes in our approach to content curation.” and that the company would expect “to take an impairment charge of approximately $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion.” The move mirrors decisions made by Warner Bros. Discovery, which last year removed content from HBO Max for financial reasons, albeit with some key differences: There’s no news as of yet whether any of the streaming exclusive titles being removed from their respective services will be made available to purchase, rent, or stream on any other services. Creators behind the shows and films are equally in the dark.

“Devastated that the movie I poured my [heart emoji] & soul into is leaving @DisneyPlus,” tweeted Stargirl writer-director Julia Hart in the wake of the news.

“Well, you work on something for years, pour your heart and soul into it, as do hundreds of other artists,” tweeted Y: The Last Man showrunner Eliza Clark. “You make it during a global pandemic, far from home. Then it is canceled before it even has a chance to finish airing. Then, it is disappeared...”

In addition to the announcement that Disney would soon remove content from streaming platforms, Disney CEO Bob Iger told investors that the company plans to make Hulu content available on Disney Plus by the end of the year, adopting a “one-app experience” approach similar to Warner Bros. Discovery’s move to fold the Discovery Plus streaming library into HBO Max and rebrand the latter to “Max.” Iger also announced that Disney intends to raise the price on the ad-free tier of Disney Plus in an effort, “to better reflect the value of our content offerings.” This follows a reported a 4 million subscriber loss for Disney Plus over the past three months.

Disney’s decision arrives amidst the Writers Guild of America contract negotiation and subsequent strike. One of the key points on the table is the payment of residuals to writers of streaming content. While perhaps not wholly strike-related, the sudden decision to remove shows, movies, and specials from streaming services in a move to claim a tax write-off arrives at a crucial moment for the entertainment industry.

Courtesy of Variety, here is a list of the titles expected to leave Disney Plus and Hulu starting on May 26:

Disney Plus

  • America the Beautiful
  • Among the Stars
  • Artemis Fowl
  • Be Our Chef
  • Better Nate Than Ever
  • The Big Fib
  • Big Shot
  • Black Beauty
  • Cheaper by the Dozen (2022)
  • Clouds
  • Diary of a Future President
  • Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings
  • Earth to Ned
  • Encore!
  • Foodtastic
  • Harmonious Live!
  • Howard
  • It’s a Dog’s Life With Bill Farmer
  • Just Beyond
  • Magic Camp
  • The Making of Willow
  • The Mighty Ducks
  • Marvel’s Hero Project
  • Marvel’s MPower
  • More Than Robots
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society
  • The One and Only Ivan
  • Own the Room
  • Pentatonix: Around the World for the Holidays
  • Pick of the Litter
  • The Princess
  • The Real Right Stuff
  • Rogue Trip
  • Rosaline
  • Shop Class
  • A Spark Story
  • Stargirl (2020)
  • Stuntman
  • Super/Natural
  • Timmy Failure
  • Turner & Hooch
  • Weird but True!
  • Willow
  • Wolfgang
  • The World According to Jeff Goldblum

Hulu

  • Best in Dough
  • Best in Snow
  • Darby and the Dead
  • Dollface
  • Everything’s Trash
  • Little Demon
  • Love in the Time of Corona
  • Maggie
  • Pistol
  • The Premise
  • The Quest
  • Y: The Last Man

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