Opinion: Netflix Needs a Big Movie Contract To Replace Disney

As it’s been widely reported now by multiple news outlets, Netflix is losing its contract with Disney come 2019 meaning new theatrical releases won’t be coming to Netflix. The service desperately needs something to replace the contract as we’ll discuss below plus look at a few potential candidates.

Note: This is an opinion article on a Netflix fansite. 

The deal between Netflix and Disney was struck back in 2014 and meant that any title released from 2016 onwards in cinemas would end up on Netflix. It’s meant major titles from its main studios and subsidiaries have come to Netflix. So far, we’ve seen titles from the Star Wars license, Marvel, Pixar and Disney animated studios all arrive on Netflix. There’s no doubt it’s a massive seller for the service as Disney and its brands have massive appeal across the United States.

With an impending Disney streaming service and it tightening its grip on Hulu with the purchase of Fox, Netflix has a big and bold new competitor in the streaming space.

Netflix has been upping its movie content as of late from both itself and smaller partners such as A24 movies. Although Netflix Original movies absolutely have their place on the service. There’s nothing quite like the big blockbusters big studios release into cinemas.

So, can Netflix replace the contract with another big movie provider? Is there even a big movie provide to replace them with? There is a chance but ultimately it’s going to cost Netflix big time. The landscape has changed substantially since 2014 when the original deal was struck. Also in recent years, media companies have been consolidating in recent years making the market condensed and more often than not, Netflix is in direct competition.

Essentially, to get a deal even close to that of Disney, Netflix would have to do dealings with any of the big six.

Let’s go through all the companies we don’t envision striking a deal thanks to conflicting interests:

  • 20th Century Fox was recently bought by Disney hence we envision most of their titles ending up on Hulu or the new Disney platform.
  • Warner Brothers is a subsidiary of AT&T which of course owns multiple TV networks including HBO where most of their movies end up now.

Next is a movie studio and we’re fairly split on deciding whether they’re a potential candidate or not.

  • Paramount Pictures is owned by Viacom who is rumored to be creating their own streaming channel. This is a potential given that the streaming service hasn’t been officially unveiled as of yet. With that said, Netflix has purchased a number of Paramount picture movies away from the studio to release exclusively on Netflix. This includes Extinction and Cloverfield Paradox.

That leaves us with the other two major movie companies:

  • Universal Pictures is perhaps the strongest candidate yet given that Netflix has a few deals with its subsidiaries Dreamworks and Illumination Picture, all of which work similar to how the Disney deal does. It doesn’t have the same deals with its live-action movie content so would make an ideal extended fit.
  • Sony Pictures or its subsidiary Columbia Pictures is another good fit. Netflix already buys a lot of content from the TV portion of the Sony Pictures Corporation. Likewise, it also gets a good chunk of its animated content already.

Netflix could also look abroad at movie studios but frankly, nothing compares to the might of Hollywood. There’s also an argument to be made that the money that’d go on buying up a studios movie library would be far better spent on a TV networks library.

What do you think? Does Netflix need to replace its Disney contract to get you to stay on board? Let us know in the comments below.

Kasey Moore

Kasey Moore is the founder and editor-in-chief of What's on Netflix. Kasey launched the site in 2013 after growing frustration with finding content on Netflix. He has an in depth understanding of the release cycles for Netflix and has developed tools to make navigating Netflix easier. Resides in Norwich in the UK.