Disney+ pulls $53m sci-fi film from service just seven weeks into release

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Disney’s sci-fi movie Crater has been pulled from its streaming service in under two months – and now isn’t available anywhere.

It’s not the greatest metaphor in the world, but you could compare the pattern of the streaming wars to the Big Bang and the creation of our own universe. First there was nothing, then came an explosion of streaming companies as audience choice proliferated and grew, almost to the point where there was too much to choose from. However, just like scientists predict the universe will do one day, streaming services seem to have reached their optimum size and are now shrinking again. Various platforms are pulling films, documentaries and TV shows from their offerings, reducing the licensing fees and hoping they can sell them elsewhere.

However, unlike the contraction of our actual universe (don’t worry folks, it’s not slated to happen for another 65 million years,) the galaxy of streaming services have begun to shrink much, much faster than anybody anticipated and worse, the process seems to be speeding up. The Independent is reporting that Disney+ has removed the film Crater from its service just seven weeks after it debuted on the platform.

Costing $53 million with a script by From series creator John Griffin and helmed by The Stanford Prison Experiment’s Kyle Patrick Alvarez, the film is a science-fiction film featuring a group of young characters colonising the Moon in the year 2257.

There are some real issues that the unceremonious yanking of Crater present for streaming platforms in general, but for Disney in particular. The studio’s model of economic viability seems all wrong, with its tentpole films costing the kind of money to make that it simply isn’t feasible to recoup, even if they are successes (which at the moment, many of them aren’t). Indiana Jones & The Dial Of Destiny, Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania and Elemental are just three of Disney’s big budget offerings from this year that have seen the company pour colossal sums of money into box office disappointments, whilst at the same time its lower budget releases such as Crater are starved of marketing cash.

Lower marketing spend for these smaller films in turn means they aren’t watched, which results in them being pulled from the platform. It’s nonsense economics and is going to hurt the studio’s relationship with key talent. Shawn Levy is one of the producers of Crater, an influential producer in Hollywood and should he have any kind of back-end deal with the studio that relies on Crater doing well, he (and other creators) will be looking at the way the company is handling the film’s release, promotion and continued lifespan and (we’d imagine) reviewing his options of who to work with next. We’ll bring you more on this ongoing story of disappearing movies as we hear it.

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