Certain films will not be available on Disney+… ever. Other classics will be edited for content, mostly stemming from archaic racist content. Meanwhile, others won’t be available at launch due to licensing issues and/or timing.
For starters, this year’s box office hits ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Aladdin’ won’t be available on Disney+ at launch, but that is because they are too new. They have just been released on DVD/Blu-Ray. On Netflix, new movies typically arrived a couple of months after the home video release. ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’ will also, obviously, not be available, because it just came out in theaters a few weeks ago.
The Sony-made ‘Spider-Man’ movies also won’t be available, because… well, they aren’t Disney movies, although there is a chance that Disney will broker a deal. (I’m not sure it would be worth it, personally.)
One of the big original projects that will be available when Disney+ launches is a live-action retelling of ‘Lady and the Tramp’. The racially-insensitive “Siamese Cat Song” will be included, but has been rewritten by Janelle Monae.
The original animated ‘Dumbo’ will be edited to remove the racist Jim Crow character, including his song “When I See an Elephant Fly.” Unfortunately, ‘Dumbo’ is only 64 minutes long. That means this classic is going to be extremely short. (The Jim Crow character and his song were completely omitted from the recent live-action film.)
Then there is ‘Song of the South’, the 1946 animation/live-action hybrid, that is considered very racist by today’s standards, peppered with “black vernacular,” stereotypes, and as some argue, glorifying of the post-Civil War plantation system. It also introduced the classic, Academy Award-winning song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” and its animated characters, Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Bear, and Br’er Fox are the basis for the Splash Mountain ride at the Disney parks. (It’s been a while, but I’m pretty sure “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” also plays on the ride.) But due to the overwhelming racially insensitive content, the film itself has never been released on home video and will not come to streaming, ever.
But even without some of these, Disney+ is offering thousands of titles, with a healthy chunk available on Day 1.
Disney+ launches next week on November 12.