It wasn't exactly a happy new year for some Disney+ subscribers. The streaming service, which just launched last month and already raked in more than 10 million subscribers (at last count), pulled both Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York from their library today. As one might expect, several customers were quite unhappy with the decision.
"There's no rights to expire, it's not like Netflix, they own the f------ movie," wrote one irate user, who added that "they kept home alone 3 on there just to be outright s---bags." Another wrote snarkily that they were "glad they took Home Alone off Disney+ the night I was gonna watch it." A third added simply, "This is not ok."
Unlike other streaming services like Netflix, which often sign contracts with networks and studios that gives them a limited window to stream certain content, Disney owns the rights to all the content available on Disney+. The assumption among users was that they wouldn't be pulling their own content from rotation, so having two holiday-centric films disappear on the first day of 2020 was something of a surprise. Particularly for those few who complained they were in the middle of watching them when they were shelved.
As noted by What's On Disney Plus, all the titles pulled today are still available to stream on the service in other countries. Along with the first two Home Alone flicks, the service also took a half-dozen other titles out, including The Sandlot, Dr. Dolittle, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Most of these titles, which were originally 20th Century Fox films, are still available to stream abroad.
Some early subscribers took note that many of the titles that were available at launch were sporting expiration dates in the site's metadata. Others argued at the time that this could be simply a placeholder, though it now appears that not all Disney+ titles will be available to stream on a whim.
This isn't all that out of the ordinary for Disney, who used to only offer their animated classics on home video for a limited window of time. This drove up demand for customers to grab copies before it would disappear back into their proverbial vaults, never knowing when it would be available again.
While Disney hasn't given an official comment on the matter just yet, there are a number of titles debuting this month to take place of Home Alone. Including the 2007 comic book flick, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.