Hulu struck a significant blow in the war for digital streaming dominance over the holiday break, announced a new licensing deal with Walt Disney Studios that will give the platform exclusive rights to a 50-plus-title collection of live-action and animated features. Rolling out in the coming months will be a selection of mostly family movies — as well as comedies, dramas and action flicks.
Already launched on Hulu are animated favorites Hercules, Mulan, Pocahontas, and The Nightmare Before Christmas, which will soon be joined by The Emperor’s New Groove, Lilo & Stitch, The Princess and the Frog and Tarzan. The service already offers original movies and other Disney-ABC Television Group programming, as Disney has a 30% stake in Hulu.
The new deal — which gives Hulu a significant boost in the kids’ content department — means that Disney movies are split between Hulu and Netflix, which under a prior agreement can offer Walt Disney Studios films (including Disney and Pixar animation, Marvel and Lucasfilm titles) during the same timeframe they are available on pay TV networks. First announced in 2012, the Disney-Netflix arrangement went into effect this fall.
Walt Disney Studios features accounted for the top four films at the global box office for 2016: Captain America: Civil War ($1.153 billion; Marvel), Finding Dory ($1.027 billion; Pixar), Zootopia ($1.023 billion; Disney Animation) and The Jungle Book ($966.6 million; Disney Studios).