The vault is empty — or it will be, soon enough. In an investor meeting, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed that the company’s upcoming streaming service, Disney Plus, will eventually host “the entire Disney motion picture library,” including the studio’s complete slate of animated films.
“The movies that you speak of that traditionally have been kept in a ‘vault’ and brought out basically every few years will be on the service,” Iger said, noting that the full Disney lineup should be available on Disney Plus “at some point fairly soon after launch.”
That’s a huge change to Disney’s company policy. Currently, 34 of Disney’s animated films — a group that includes both classic features and their direct-to-video sequels — reside in a theoretical space known as “the vault.” Every film in the vault is released on home video once every ten years. Once that allotment of DVDs and Blu-Rays sells out, new copies of the film won’t be printed until the film’s next time in the vault cycle comes due.
The program was designed to keep Disney’s animated offerings fresh for young audiences and to inflate demand for its home video products. It’s also a frustrating policy for parents and Disney fans. For example, as The Verge observes, there’s currently no way to buy or stream new copies of Disney’s original Aladdin even though the live-action remake is making headlines thanks to its divisive trailer.
Disney won’t be stingy when it comes to adding new movies to Disney Plus, either. Iger said that new movies, like Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars: Episode IX, will arrive on Disney Plus within a year of their release date.
The addition of Disney’s previously vaulted films makes Disney Plus an even more attractive proposition for customers, although it’s not the service’s only selling point. In addition to Disney’s classic films, Disney Plus will also host original content, including multiple television series based on Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a Monsters Inc. spin-off, remakes of Disney movies like 3 Men and a Baby, and shows based on High School Musical and High Fidelity.
Disney Plus is expected to launch sometime before the end of 2019.
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