Disney+ Original Movie Crater Premiered Just Seven Weeks Ago... Aaand It's Gone


Last year, HBO's "Barry" satirized the state of streaming with a scene where a brand new show gets canceled and obliterated from the front page of its streaming service after just 12 hours because "the Algorithm" judged that it wasn't hitting the right "taste clusters" (yes, that's a real thing). The scene has proven to be horribly prophetic, as a wave of belt-tightening across the industry has gone beyond TV shows getting canceled before they have a chance to find an audience. Now, great swaths of content both old and new are being removed from streaming libraries to eliminate ongoing costs like residuals and music licensing.

The latest victim of the Great Purge is the Disney+ original movie "Crater," which premiered on May 12, 2023, and has been deleted without warning just seven weeks later. Never heard of it? You're not alone. "Crater" got decent enough reviews (it has a 64 percent on Rotty T's), but many disgruntled Disney+ users are saying that the news of its deletion is the first time they've even heard of the movie. Meanwhile, others had it lined up on their watchlist, but didn't know there was a deadline to watch it. (Anecdotally, I've watched Ridley Scott's "The Martian" on Disney+ a bunch of times, but the Algorithm never once suggested I might like this movie about people having perilous adventures on the Moon.)

Directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez ("13 Reasons Why") from a screenplay by "From" creator John Griffin, "Crater" is set in 2257 and follows a group of kids living on a lunar colony who have grown up with the Moon as their home and the Earth as a feature of their night sky. One day, they steal a rover and set out from the safe confines of their colony to investigate a mysterious, legendary crater. It looks pretty cool, based on the trailer, but it was removed from Disney+ on July 1 and is not currently available on any other streaming service.

Crater? I hardly knew her!

According to What's on Disney Plus, "Crater" was among a number of titles removed at the end of June, most of them Turkish originals like the feature comedy "My Apologies" and thriller series "Ben Gri." Other victims include the 2022 Disney+ original documentary "More Than Robots," which follows a group of teens preparing for the 2020 FIRST Robotics Competition and was directed by Gillian Jacobs. Britta just can't catch a break.

This is a smaller purge than when Disney brought in the scythes at the end of May, cutting more than a hundred titles including the big-budget fantasy sequel series "Willow," which followed on from the beloved 1988 Lucasfilm adventure and saw Warwick Davis reprising the titular role. "Willow" was removed from Disney+ less than six months after it premiered, and while it's possible that Disney might license the series to another streaming or VOD service in the future, for now it's not available to watch legally anywhere. Not even physical media hoarding can help with this one; the show has yet to be released on DVD or Blu-ray.

Disney+ was originally pitched as everything Disney under one roof, but after losing 4 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2023, the company is rethinking that. As chief financial officer Christine McCarthy put it, Disney is "reviewing the content on our DTC services to align with the strategic changes in our approach to content curation." Translation: if the Algorithm says it's not driving subscribers, it's on the chopping block.

Of course, one could argue that purging titles from the Disney+ library without warning every month isn't going to help win back any lost subscribers, or win new ones either.

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