Netflix confirmed today that all Disney movies — including Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar films — will no longer be available to stream as of 2019.
Disney chief Bob Iger made the announcement during an investors call. A Netflix representative confirmed the news to Polygon, adding that the streaming service will continue to work with the Walt Disney company in other areas, including continuing its Marvel TV series (The Defenders, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones and Daredevil).
“US Netflix members will have access to Disney films on the service through the end of 2019, including all new films that are shown theatrically through the end of 2018,” a representative said.
Disney’s decision to end its deal with Netflix comes just five years after the companies first signed a multimillion dollar agreement. In 2016, after Disney’s exclusivity deal with cable network Starz ran out, Netflix started carrying Disney movies for American users. The first movie that Netflix made available to subscribers was Captain America: Civil War and since then has added films like Inside Out, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Doctor Strange.
The decision to stop working with Netflix may seem fast and out of the blue, but this is something that Disney’s Iger has been building up to. In recent earnings calls, Iger has spoken about how the company is exploring more “aggressive” streaming options for Disney properties. This also includes ESPN content, like live sports, which will be made available on the new streaming service.
In February, Iger was asked if Disney would ever cut ties with Netflix, and while the CEO didn’t give a direct answer, he didn’t back away from it either.
“We have to be careful because we have existing agreements and existing relationships and a lot of value still being reaped from the traditional distribution relationships,” Iger said. “But I can tell you that it is our full intent to go out there aggressively with digital offerings direct to the consumer for ESPN and other Disney-branded properties.”