By Todd Spangler
NY Digital Editor
Update, July 4: Another victim of Disney‘s cost-cutting on the streaming front has emerged: “Crater,” a sci-fi adventure film about a group of children that hijack a rover before a member of the group relocates to a new planet. The film, starring Mckenna Grace and Isaiah Russell-Bailey with a featured role played by Kid Cudi, drew mostly positive reviews around its debut on the streaming service on May 12. Roughly seven weeks later, “Crater” has been pulled from Disney+.
The original report follows.
Disney’s content culling from Disney+ and Hulu is coming as early as next week — with the media company pulling off more than 50 titles, including series “Willow,” “The Mysterious Benedict Society” and “Dollface,” and movies such as “The One and Only Ivan.”
At the same time, CEO Bob Iger told investors last week that the company expects to raise the price on the ad-free Disney+ tier later this year “to better reflect the value of our content offerings.”
A Disney rep confirmed that dozens of titles will be pulled off Disney+ and Hulu (see list below), starting on Friday, May 26. On the earnings call, CFO Christine McCarthy said Disney expects to take a write-down in the June quarter of $1.5 billion-$1.8 billion from removing content from its streaming platforms. By writing down the value of the content assets, Disney can remove that from its balance sheet and reduce its tax bill.
“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.”
Iger said Disney is “confident that we’re on the right path for streaming’s long-term profitability” and that as part of that the company would be “rationalizing the volume of the content we make and what we’re spending.” He also announced that the company will launch an integrated Disney+/Hulu “one-app experience” in the U.S. by the end of 2023 for subscribers of both services.
After spending just under $30 billion on content in Disney’s 2022 fiscal year (which ends in September), Iger has targeted $3 billion in savings for 2023. The Mouse House’s content spending this year could also be lower because of the WGA writers strike, McCarthy said this week at a conference.
Here are some of the shows and movies Disney is removing from the streaming services:
(Pictured above: Warwick Davis in Disney+ original series “Willow”)
A Variety and iHeartRadio Podcast
The Business of Entertainment