Disney+ Removes New Movie Just Weeks After Premiere

Disney+ has pulled a new sci-fi film only several weeks after its release. Variety reports that the streaming service has removed Crater, starring Ghostbusters: Afterlife actress Mckenna Grace, Isiah Russell-Bailey, and Kid Cudi, just seven weeks after it premiered on May 12. It is just the latest title to be dropped from Disney+ and Hulu after content removals began in May. The last day for Crater on Disney+ was June 30. The story of Crater revolves around Caleb (Russell-Bailey), who is raised in a lunar mining colony. After his father's death, he is set to be relocated to a distant planet, but before he leaves, he and his three best friends hijack a rover and investigate a mysterious crater. The film has been reviewed generally favorably by both audiences and critics, who praised the production design and actors' performances.

Streaming platforms can remove content for various reasons at any given time. For example, titles appear on Netflix and disappear occasionally due to licensing issues. In the case of original content, it seems as if entertainment companies are trying to write off the money through a larger tax write-down strategy. The recent removal of titles has caused particular issues for fans and creators, especially when they are taken down after short periods of time. Dozens of titles have been removed from Disney+ and Hulu since May 26. In the earnings call of that month, Disney's Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy said the company would take a write-down of about $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion in the June quarter as a result of the removal of content from its streaming platform. Disney will be able to lower its tax bill by writing down the value of the content assets and removing them from its balance sheet.

"We are in the process of reviewing the content on our [direct-to-consumer] services to align with the strategic changes in our approach to content curation," McCarthy told investors. "As a result, we will be removing certain content from our streaming platforms." CEO Bob Iger said during the call that Disney is "confident that we're on the right path for streaming's long-term profitability," including "rationalizing the volume of the content we make and what we're spending." In addition, he announced in his call that the company will launch a Disney+/Hulu "one-app experience" in the U.S. by the end of 2023 for subscribers to both services. In 2023, Iger plans to save $3 billion after spending just under $30 billion on content in Disney's fiscal year 2022 (which ends in September).