Disney+‘s launch content includes some 20th Century Fox movies but not as many as people might think. Disney+ is already a major player in the streaming service market. As seemingly every network or studio enters the streaming game in an attempt to keep up with the model established by Netflix – from NBCUniversal’s Peacock to HBO Max to Quibi – it’s stalwarts at The Walt Disney Company who pose the greatest threat. After all, how could potential viewers not be enticed by the promise of the entire Disney filmography (except for Song of the South, as noted by many) as well as the embarrassment of riches offered by not only their various acquisitions over the decades but the bounty of one of Hollywood’s most legendary studios: Fox. However, for now, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
What remains most striking about the list of titles that Disney+ is offering at launch – accounting for hundreds of films, TV shows, and documentaries – is how few Fox properties are featured. The lion’s share of offerings are Disney movies, IPs from the Disney Channel, Touchstone/Buena Vista Pictures films, and their various acquired franchises, such as Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel. Granted, the list is, as Disney themselves admit, incomplete, and there will inevitably be more on the horizon. Part of the reason the Fox acquisition was such a big deal for Disney was because of the valuable back-catalog of beloved and historic titles it gave them access to. Remember, Fox has been part of Hollywood history for close to 85 years, so they have a lot to offer. Still, the message of the list was clear: This is all about Disney first and foremost, and Fox is merely the sprinkles on top of an exceedingly rich cake.
It seems unlikely that these will be the only Fox titles on Disney+. Why spend $71 billion on a company if you’re not going to use more of those IPs? But for now, as revealed by Disney, here are the Fox titles that future Disney+ subscribers can expect to find on launch day.
In 1990, Home Alone was the second highest-grossing film of its year, with a worldwide gross of over $476 million. To this day, it’s a Christmas favorite (frequently being ranked as one of the best holiday movies ever made.) Perhaps the defining film of Macaulay Culkin’s career, Home Alone was the highest-grossing live-action comedy film of all time in the United States for over 20 years, as well as the highest-grossing Christmas film of all time until The Grinch surpassed it in 2018. On top of being a Disney+ exclusive, Home Alone will receive a remake on the streaming service.
In the 1950s, as television became dominant, Hollywood struggled at the box office as audiences chose to stay at home instead. To keep up and get butts back in seats, studios turned to the epic, promising incredible visuals and scope, the likes of which couldn’t be replicated on a tiny screen. Fox’s 1959 sci-fi Journey to the Center of the Earth is a perfect example of that: A genre epic released in CinemaScope based on the Jules Verne classic. It’s a curious title for Disney+ to premiere with, especially given that Fox is hardly short of more well-known films to choose from, but it’s certainly fitting for the brand’s ethos.
Based on the children’s novel by Frank Cottrell Boyce, 2004’s Millions is one of director Danny Boyle’s lesser-known movies. The touching comedy-drama follows a young Irish boy living in England who finds a bag of money and decides to see how much of it he can spend before the country of this world turns from the pound to the euro. Millions never got the audience it deserved upon release so perhaps it can find one on Disney+.
There are few Christmas movies as iconic as the 1947 original version of Miracle on 34th Street (which is somewhat ironic given that the film was originally released in June.) The Oscar-winning family favorite is a staple of the holiday season, thanks to its universal appeal and heartwarming sentimentality. The 1994 remake with Sir Richard Attenborough is also a Fox title but is not listed as part of the Disney+ service.
Drew Barrymore stars in this 1999 romantic comedy about a 20-something journalist who is sent undercover to high school to report on what life is really like for the modern teenager. She quickly finds herself reliving the worst aspects of her own adolescence and dealing with the complicated romantic feelings that she’s developed for her teacher, who still believes her to be 17.
For many years, Don Bluth’s animated films provided a refreshing alternative to Disney’s output, especially at a time when the studio was seriously struggling to find its feet in the 1980s. Titles like The Land Before Time, All Dogs Go To Heaven, and The Secret of NIMH were the kind of movies that never would have been made under Disney and Bluth’s unique approach to storytelling for children won him many fans. However, by the 1990s, Disney was back on top and Bluth had fallen out of fashion, leading him to borrow more from the handbook of his old employer. Thumbelina is essentially a Disney movie in terms of its structure, themes, and style, so it’s somewhat ironic that it’s now a Disney property and will be available on their streaming service. No word yet on whether any of Bluth’s other more beloved films will join it there in the near future.
As is befitting Disney’s excellent branding in terms of tapping into its audience’s nostalgia, a lot of the Fox titles dropping on Disney+ are cult favorites from the ’80s and ’90s that will bring back fond memories to viewers. The Sandlot is the perfect example of that. This coming-of-age comedy from 1993 follows a group of friends and young baseball players during the summer of 1962. This is another Fox property that Disney plans to reboot as a new series with the original cast on Disney+.
This 1993 film, starring Thomas Ian Nicholas, Gary Busey, and Dan Hedaya, centers on the Chicago Clubs baseball team and their desperation to get out of a slump. Luck comes their way when Henry, a Little Leaguer with an incredible pitch, comes their way and he’s drafted to join the big leagues.
Based on the 1941 children’s novel and subsequent television series, Flicka was a minor theatrical hit in 2006 that became a surprise hit on the DVD market, spawning two straight-to-DVD releases. The first film stars Alison Lohman and Tim McGraw, and centers on a young girl’s special connection with a wild mustang.
Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid books remains one of the most beloved children’s series on the market. The 13 books (soon to be 14) have sold over 200 million copies worldwide in 56 languages and the collected series has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 553 weeks and counting. According to THR in 2015, the series has generated over $500 million in revenue, so it’s not hard to see why Disney would want to get their hands on it. The four films made in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series have had varying levels of commercial success but are sure to be streaming favorites on Disney+. The company has already announced that they plan to reboot the series for the streaming service.
One of the many subsidies of Fox acquired as part of the merger was the animation studio Blue Sky, home of the Ice Age franchise. Many industry experts predicted that Disney would quickly shutter the company as they would arguably have no use for a brand that would merely create unnecessary competition for their own animated titles. For now, at least, that doesn’t seem to be the case. In August, Disney announced that the company was installing Walt Disney Animation Studios President Andrew Millstein at Blue Sky to serve as co-president. So the company certainly has plans to keep making films under this banner, although it remains to be seen if such films will receive a theatrical release or go straight to Disney+. Whatever the case, for now, Disney+ subscribers will only be able to find one part of Blue Sky’s most iconic franchise, Ice Age, on its platform, a short made for Easter.
Close to 55 years since it premiered, the big-screen adaptation of The Sound of Music remains a holiday staple for many families. Julie Andrew and Christopher Plummer’s multi Oscar-winning epic love story inspired by the true story of the Trapp family singers had an initial theatrical release of over four years and the film continues to be a money-maker for Fox. Now, it’s Disney’s property and it’s sure to be a favorite on their streaming service.
Free Solo, the Oscar-winning and utterly gut-churning documentary about a daring climber scaling El Capitan without ropes, is but one of many documentaries and series courtesy of National Geographic that will stream exclusively on Disney+. Disney acquired controlling interest of National Geographic Partners, including both the TV network and the historic magazine, as part of the Fox deal. This gives Disney access to a plethora of award-winning documentaries and series focused on nature and world wildlife. The National Geographic is a true institution, one that has continued to push boundaries in its field, and as demonstrated by the likes of Sir David Attenborough, there’s always an audience out there hungry for such content.
Having the exclusive streaming rights to The Simpsons, one of the greatest television series ever made, may be the secret jewel in the crown of Disney+. Having just broadcast their 666th episode, the show continues to be a mainstay of the Fox line-up in its 31st season. While fans gripe about the slide in quality, it’s tough to deny the hilarity and cultural impact those first 10 seasons had on television as a whole. Streaming services will be heavily reliant on old and familiar TV shows that people like to re-watch repeatedly, hence the hubbub over NBCUniversal pulling The Office from Netflix for Peacock and HBO Max doing the same for Friends. In terms of binge-worthy series that could pull in major numbers, The Simpsons could be tough to beat.
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