If you want to jack in to “The Matrix” trilogy, adventure with the denizens of “Shrek,” or set course for the first three “Jurassic Park” films, do it soon: Said films will be leaving Peacock at the end of the month.
IndieWire has confirmed that those specific features, among others, will be taken off of the new streaming service. Other films that will be removed at the end of July include “The Blair Witch Project,” “Children of Men,” and “The Mummy.” Two films — “Fast & Furious” and “Evan Almighty” — are already gone. The latter was removed from Peacock on July 15, the same day the streaming service launched nationally. The films are expected to return to Peacock at some point but a specific time frame is not available.
While the departure of the aforementioned films may disappoint Peacock subscribers, Peacock is hardly the only streaming service to remove popular films from its library, nor is it the only streamer to do so so quickly after launching. WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, which launched in late May, recently removed superhero films such as “Justice League,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” and “Wonder Woman,” while Disney+, which launched last November, removed “Home Alone,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” and a handful of other movies near the beginning of the year.
Streaming services that remove titles typically do so for licensing reasons and older services such as Netflix are not an exception to the rule. Still, the removals can sometimes be surprising; Observer reported in June that even though WarnerMedia owns the DC superhero films, pre-existing licensing deals required the company to remove some of those titles from HBO Max. WarnerMedia told Observer those films would return to HBO Max in the future. A Disney+ representative said something similar to Gizmodo about the Disney+ film removals earlier in the year.
Licensing popular content is a key factor in a streaming service’s success. There were a multitude of headlines last year about companies spending hundreds of millions to secure the rights to shows such as “Seinfeld” and “The Big Bang Theory” to ensure that new streaming services would have eye-catching titles to woo potential subscribers.
While the proliferation of streaming services has theoretical benefits for consumers — having more options incentivizes companies to improve their services to stand out from their competitors —the sheer volume of titles that arrive or depart from various streaming services makes it difficult to keep up with what films or television shows are available for streaming on specific platforms. The issue is exacerbated by the lack of transparency about the removals; streamers rarely tell their subscribers when and what titles are being removed which forces consumers to turn to news outlets to stay up to date. Even then, the volume and frequency of title additions and removals makes it difficult to stay informed.
The days of Netflix being the platform for streaming every film and television show under the sun are long gone, and as new and veteran streamers continue to duke it out in the streaming wars the issue isn’t going away. There’s no easy solution but at least “The Matrix” will be on Peacock for a few more days.
Gamespot was first to report on the various films that have been or will be removed from Peacock.