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Netflix’s US film catalog will soon be vastly improved, thanks to Disney

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  • Adam Epstein
By Adam Epstein

Entertainment reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

For all Americans complaining about the weak selection of movies on Netflix, the streaming service says it has heard your grievances (video). The US Netflix catalog is about to get better.

Netflix’s exclusive pay-TV deal with Disney will begin in September. That means that, in the US, Netflix will be the only place to watch upcoming Disney, Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm movies after they’ve left theaters. The deal starts with all 2016 releases, meaning any movies that came out in 2015 or earlier, like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will not be included. (The Force Awakens will be exclusively on Starz in the US—only in Canada will it be on Netflix.)

Movies that are part of the deal include Captain America: Civil WarRogue One: A Star Wars StoryZootopiaThe Jungle Book, and any future blockbuster Disney movie, like the (still untitled) 2017 Star Wars sequel or the next Avengers movie.

Netflix detailed the deal in a blog post yesterday (May 23). Also coming to US Netflix this summer, outside of the Disney deal, is the Jurassic Park franchise, Oscar winner SpotlightThe Big ShortThe Little Prince, and several Netflix originals, including Brad Pitt’s War Machine.

This is a massive acquisition for Netflix, which will reportedly pay Disney upwards of $300 million per year for the rights to stream their films. And it’s coming at the perfect time—US Netflix has lost a third of its movie catalog in the last two years as it’s dealt with increased streaming competition and moved toward a greater focus on original content. The Disney deal may not significantly increase the raw number of titles streaming on Netflix, but it will surely improve the quality of those titles.

If there’s any studio that could make a movie selection more enticing to consumers, it’s Disney. It has already released three billion-dollar movies, and is poised to release a few more by the end of the year. The Disney catalog spans nearly every film genre, and caters to people of all demographics.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because that is also essentially Netflix’s content strategy: Offer a personalized slate of programming that serves every subscriber’s niche, in every corner of the world.

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