Netflix Discussing Keeping Disney’s Marvel, ‘Star Wars’ Films

Netflix Inc is in “active discussions” with Walt Disney Co about keeping Marvel and “Star Wars” films after 2019, when new Disney and Pixar movies will stop appearing on the streaming service, a senior executive said late on Thursday.

Disney announced on Tuesday that it was pulling new Disney and Pixar films from Netflix, starting with new releases in 2019. It will start putting the movies on a new Disney-branded online service that year.

Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger told analysts the company had not yet decided where it would distribute superhero films from Marvel Studios and movies from “Star Wars” producer Lucasfilm, which the company owns, at that time.

Netflix is still in discussions with Disney about retaining rights to stream Marvel and Lucasfilm releases after 2019, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told Reuters.

A Disney spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Iger said on Tuesday that the Marvel and Lucasfilm movies could go to Netflix or another streaming service after 2019, or Disney might retain the rights for itself.

Sarandos said he expected Disney’s service to be “complementary” to Netflix, which carries other family-friendly programing such as animated movies from “Despicable Me” creator Illumination Entertainment and “Shrek” producer Dreamworks Animation.

Disney’s plan to stream its content directly to consumers is “a natural evolution” for traditional media companies that Netflix expected, Sarandos said in an interview at an event to celebrate Emmy nominations for his company’s drama, “The Crown.”

“That’s why we got into the originals business five years ago, anticipating it may be not as easy a conversation with studios and networks” to license their content, he added.

Disney’s break from Netflix applies only to its film deal in the United States, where the streaming service runs new Disney movies shortly after they leave theaters.

Disney to Pull its Movies from Netflix and Start its Own Streaming Services

Disney wants to own a bigger piece of the streaming pie.

The company announced during its latest earnings report on Tuesday it intends to remove its movies from Netflix.

Instead, Disney plans to launch a branded direct-to-consumer streaming service in 2019 starting in the U.S. and expanding globally.

CEO Bob Iger told CNBC’s Julia Boorstin Disney had a “good relationship” with Netflix, but decided to exercise an option to move its content off the platform. Movies to be removed include Disney as well as Pixar’s titles, according to Iger. Netflix said Disney movies will be available through the end of 2018 on its platform. Marvel TV shows will remain.

The new platform will be the home for all Disney movies going forward, starting with the 2019 theatrical slate which includes “Toy Story 4,” “Frozen 2,” and the upcoming live-action “The Lion King.” It will also be making a “significant investment” in exclusive movies and television series for the new platform.

The company will also launch its own ESPN video streaming service in early 2018. The platform, which will feature about 10,000 sporting events each year, will have content from the MLB, NHL, MLS, collegiate sports and tennis’ Grand Slam events.

To power the services, Disney is buying a majority ownership of BAM Tech for $1.58 billion. Disney bought a 33 percent stake in the company, which was spun off from digital media company MLB Advanced Media, in August 2016.

“This represents a big strategic shift for the company,” Iger said to CNBC. “We felt that having control of a platform we’ve been very impressed with after buying 33 percent of it a year ago would give us control of our destiny.”

From CNBC

Netflix Exclusive Disney Movie Deal in U.S. Kicks In This Fall

Netflix’s exclusive deal with Disney for pay-TV window rights to the Mouse House’s movie titles in the U.S. will commence in September.

Under the pact — signed three and a half years ago — Netflix will become the exclusive U.S. pay-TV home of the latest films from Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar, chief content officer Ted Sarandos wrote in a blog post Monday. Currently, Starz has the “pay one” output rights to Disney titles in the States.

Netflix’s U.S. rights cover Disney movies starting with 2016 theatrical releases, which means American streaming subs will not have access to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Instead, Starz will have streaming rights to the blockbuster space epic in the U.S.

Zootopia

Disney’s 2016 movie slate includes “Zootopia” as well as “The Jungle Book,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” “Finding Dory,” Steven Spielberg’s “The BFG,” “Pete’s Dragon,” “Doctor Strange,” “Moana” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

“The 2016 (Disney) releases will start rolling on in September and we’ll share specific dates/titles closer to their premiere on the service,” a Netflix rep said.

Meanwhile, Netflix also disclosed that several older Disney titles will be leaving the service in June. Those include “Hercules” (June 1) as well as “Mulan” and “Hunchback of Notre Dame” (June 24); Disney movies that will remain include “Tarzan,” “Robin Hood,” “Lilo & Stitch” and “Emperor’s New Groove.”

Emperor's New Groove

In Canada, Netflix’s output deal with Disney began with 2015 releases after the previous agreements for the pay-TV window with Corus Entertainment and Bell Canada expired (which means subs in the Great White North will have access to “Force Awakens”).

Star Wars Force Awakens

From Variety