Skip to main content

Why can I see movies that aren't available yet on Disney Plus?

Coming soon to a smartphone near you

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Best answer: Disney Plus (Disney+) has licensing and exclusivity agreements that prevent some films from being streamed on Disney+ for a few more months. The films have listings in Disney+ now so that you can add them to your Watchlist and be notified when they're available.

Great and growing collection: Disney+ ($7/month at Disney)

Why can't I watch it now? Blame the lawyers

Disney + has been a long time coming, but, unfortunately, streaming rights and exclusivity contracts are worked out many, many years at a time. So while Disney has been preparing for this service for four years, that isn't enough time to get the rights back for everything just yet. In some cases, Disney could negotiate changes so that recent Marvel and Disney movies could still stream on Disney+, while other services still have licensing agreements in place — this is why we have 16 MCU movies on Disney+ right now instead of the four that were originally slated to be on the service at launch.

In other agreements, Disney and the other parties could not come to an agreement in order to modify the existing deal, so Disney+ and all of its subscribers have to wait for the deal to expire in order for Disney+ to legally stream them. This is why most of the recent Marvel movies like Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok are not available now, but will be available in the next few months.

Why list it if I can't watch now? Watchlist and waitlist

I just want to watch

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Most services like Netflix and Hulu hide shows and movies that you can't watch, for example, in another country, but Disney+ is showing the listings with the date of arrival for some movies. These films might not be watchable right now, but having a listing gives users the date of arrival without making them go searching elsewhere for it.

Having a listing in the Disney+ app also allows us to add a movie to our Watchlist, so that we can easily find it once it is live. I'm hopeful that Disney+ will send you a push notification on your phone when movies on your Watchlist become available the way it does for new episodes of Disney+ originals also on your Watchlist.

Why are some missing movies listed but some aren't? Solid versus fluid situations

You may have noticed that some missing movies have listings on Disney+ right now, like Beauty and the Beast 2017 while other missing movies like Aladdin (2019) do not. If a missing movie has a concrete date for when it will arrive on Disney+, it seems to have a Disney+ listing. If there isn't currently a set date for it to arrive, the movie does not usually have a listing.