Apple-iPad-event-2013 2013-10-24 at 9.00.27 AM

Update: Deletion of purchased content is a glitch, variable availability of movies a ‘feature’ – see below

Some Disney and Pixar movies – including The Lion King and Mater’s Tall Tales – have apparently been pulled from the iTunes Store in the USA and UK, with at least one 9to5Mac reader reporting that purchased movies have been removed from his Apple TV without refund.

Two movies disappeared from my Apple TV yesterday (Mater’s Tall Tales and The Lion King). I called Apple and they told me that Disney has removed them from the iTunes store. They are no longer available for viewing on my Apple TV. There was no warning, no notice and no refund. According to Apple, all digital content belongs to the content provider.

The Lion King is a Disney movie, and Mater’s Tall Tales a Pixar one. Both movies show up on the web, but clicking the View in iTunes button brings up a message saying they are not available.

It would seem unlikely that Disney is pulling its movies from iTunes. Disney CEO Bob Iger is on Apple’s Board, and of course Pixar was a Steve Jobs creation. Also, Disney is often one of the first major studios to adopt Apple technology.

We’ve asked Apple and Disney for a comment, and will update when we know more.

Update:

Disney has been in touch to say that while they do vary the availability of movies for streaming, the removal of purchased content is a glitch and Apple is working to resolve it. Those who have already purchased movies will have access to them restored. Disney was not aware of the issue until alerted to it by our story.

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18 Responses to “Some Disney and Pixar movies pulled from iTunes Store, report of deletions from Apple TV (Update: Partial glitch)”

  1. It could very well be all part of that stupid “Disney Vault” program they do where they make these movies available for limited time purchase and then pull them to make them rare, although if that’s the case here and it removes your purchase from AppleTV, that’s really crappy and obviously wrong since you purchased it.

  2. And Steve Job’s wife represents his estate on the Board of Directors for Disney.

  3. I checked those 2 Movies which I got months ago and they are really not playing. WTF

  4. Kevin Shain says:

    I doubt this is a glitch, look on Amazon — Lion King no longer available on Instant Video either. This is why you should always download purchased items so you have a secondary way to access them if a licensing agreement expires between the content owner and the store (be it Amazon, Apple, etc).

  5. My ‘Lion King’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Remember the Titans’ was removed from my movie purchases.

  6. those movies also gone from my purchase list in iTunes.

  7. This is just another reason I won’t buy my favorite movies in digital format. Physical media will never die.

  8. Ben Lovejoy says:

    Thanks for the further reports here. We’ll update when we get any word from Apple or Disney.

  9. Are you sure you didn’t just hide the purchase? To go your Account Information page in iTunes, and view the ‘iTunes in the Cloud’ section. Where it says, “Hidden Purchases”.. Click the ‘Manage’ label and see if they’re listed there.

  10. this is shitty. They cant do that. The buying one does isnt time renting, its buying for personal use. someone should sue them.

  11. Tyler Brown says:

    I noticed Fantasia was gone from my account a couple days ago. I sent Apple an email and they told me there is nothing they could do about it because i didnt download it to my computer thus I would not receive a refund. BS.

  12. We heard from Disney regarding this issue in our followup report at AppAdvice.com.
    http://appadvice.com/appnn/2013/10/some-disney-movies-are-no-longer-in-itunes-including-titles-previously-purchased Thankfully, they aren’t pulling content already purchased

  13. Scott Walker says:

    and this is the EXACT reason I refuse to buy digital only movies, because after paying MORE for them (here in Australia ) than buying the real copies on Blu-ray….you never actually own them and they can be taken off you at any time!!
    The sooner people realise they are paying a higher premium to borrow a digital video than to buy the real copy for a lot cheaper & OWN IT….the less people will buy digital stuff!

  14. drtyrell969 says:

    Perhaps they should have let people know BEFORE they did this. ;)

  15. If Disney starts doing this for customers who get there movies over iTunes this could be not such a good move. Thank goodness the issue at least is being worked on.