Netflix is home to thousands and thousands of movies and TV shows, but it will be a bit lighter come the new year as dozens of films and series say au revoir. Such is the situation in the streaming wars, as companies like Disney move to consolidate its content for their own platforms.
Take “Star Wars.” The franchise is part of the Disney empire, which is giving Netflix a piece of coal for Christmas as it takes back Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, the blockbuster sequel where Luke Skywalker trains the last great hope for the universe in the form of Daisy Ridley, for its recently launched service Disney +. The company chose not to renew its contract with Netflix and already removed this year content like “Thor: Ragnarok,” the megahit where Chris Hemsing must escape capture to save the world from impending doom, the live action “Beauty and the Beast,” starring “Harry Potter’s” Emma Watson and “Downton Abbey’s” Dan Stevens in the title characters, and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” where Johnny Depp plays the swilly, swishy, Keith Richards-esque Jack Sparrow.
Disney’s purchase of 20th Century Fox also meant Netflix also lost seasons of “How I Met Your Mother,” the quirky drama about five friends told in flashbacks starring Neil Patrick Harris, Hugh Laurie’s Emmy-winning hospital drama “House, MD” where he played a curmudgeonly doctor who could seemingly solve any ailment, and the ribald, utterly inappropriate cartoon comedy “Family Guy.”
But Disney is not alone in playing Scrooge this holiday season, as Netflix will also lose movies like “Rain Man,” starring Tom Cruise as the brother to autism afflicted Dustin Hoffman, Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky” boxing franchise (parts 1-5), the “Schindler’s List” Holocaust drama, “The Pink Panther” French detective series, and “Black Hawk Down,” Ridney Scott’s real life drama about a US helicopter crashing in Somalia, among other favorites. Netflix will also lose TV shows like “Frasier,” starring Kelsey Grammer as the acerbic psychologist turned radio host, “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” featuring the TV critic eating cuisines around the world, and the mystical drama “Merlin.” As well as documentaries like “Frozen Planet,” (season 1, “On Thin Ice” and “The Epic Journey”), “Nature’s Great Events,” Planet Earth” and “Blue Planet.”
But the real tears will come in 2020 when Warner Bros. pulls “Friends” from Netflix in anticipation of its premiere on the WarnerMedia-owned streaming service HBO Max. The platform paid $425 million for the decade-long series and is using the show as a major draw to get more subscribers. But fear not, Netflixers: the service is still home to 4,000 movies and more than 47,000 hours of TV favorites.