In a move toward a more adult (some may say “scandalous”) streaming service, Disney+ customers in the United States were offered not one, but two 20th Century Studios films dubbed “Hot Shots” and “Hot Shots: Part Deux” for a limited time. These films were pulled off the site barely days after they were added. “Hot Shots,” a 1991 spoof of “Top Gun,” stars the notorious Charlie Sheen. The picture is rated PG-13 because it contains not just bawdy scenes, but also an F-word and “scatological terminology.” While violent scenes aren’t uncommon on Disney+, harsh language isn’t.
The rated R picture “Kiss of the Dragon,” which will be released in Canada instead, was another unexpected and unusual title that was accidentally disclosed. Jet Li plays a Chinese government operative who teams up with an American prostitute on a drug ring assignment in this film. The service now has the ability to feature more adult-targeted films, such as “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” “Iron Fist,” “The Punisher,” and “The Defenders,” thanks to the new parental restrictions.
They’ve also included “Free Guy,” “West Side Story,” and “Blackish,” among other shows that didn’t previously fit under the Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, National Geographic, or Disney trademarks. Pixar’s “Turning Red” received considerable backlash for depicting a young girl doing, well, young lady things.
While this isn’t surprising given that the Star and Star+ foreign brands contain “Die Hard,” “Only Murders in the Building,” and “Dopesick,” as well as the R-rated “The King’s Man” and “The Last Duel,” the American brand was previously spotless. All of this raises the issue of whether Disney+ will become the next Hulu. It’s difficult to say, but it’s becoming a possibility. Especially now that former Disney CEO Bob Iger has stepped down and is being replaced by Bob Chapek.
Executives also intimated that horror and thriller programming may be considered for the family-friendly streaming service in 2020, which would be unprecedented. What does the future hold for Disney+? Will parents want to continue using the site if they are going toward adult-oriented content, despite the stringent parental controls? Why doesn’t Disney+ just join forces with Hulu and go all-in?
The Parents Television and Media Council (PTC), a conservative group, has attacked the company’s recent moves and warned it against adding mature programming, saying it would “damage your image.” Disney+ was also touted as a “family-friendly streaming service,” according to the organization. Regardless of what some concerned parents may say, Chapek and Disney+ appear to be committed to introducing more mature titles. Whatever is next to be released on the service will be a significant shift.