All five seasons of The Muppet Show will stream on Disney Plus beginning February 19th, Disney announced today. With the addition, Disney Plus is now home to nearly every Muppets title — except two.
While Disney owns the rights to The Muppet Show, Muppets Most Wanted, The Muppet Movie, Muppet Treasure Island, The Muppet Christmas Carol, The Muppets, and The Great Muppet Caper, all of which are streaming on Disney Plus, The Muppets Take Manhattan and Muppets from Space are owned by Sony. As such, Disney can’t host the entire Muppet movie collection. Disney will also make the fourth and fifth seasons of the series, previously never available to purchase through home video offerings, available on Disney Plus.
It’s a similar situation to Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home. Despite the fact that Marvel Studios (and therefore Disney) co-produced the film with Sony, Sony owns the rights to the series. That’s why the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe collection isn’t available on Disney Plus. Licensing rights! The bane of every subscriber’s existence.
Fans of Jim Henson Company’s entire body of work are in even more of a pickle. While most of the Muppets works are on Disney Plus, the entirety of Fraggle Rock belongs to Apple. When the tech giant decided to reboot Fraggle Rock, the company purchased the streaming rights to the entire series in order to have the full collection. That means anyone who wants to stream all of Fraggle Rock or every single Muppets title needs to do it in three ways:
- Sign up for Disney Plus
- Sign up for Apple TV Plus
- Purchase Muppets from Space and The Muppets Take Manhattan through iTunes, Vudu, Amazon, or some other digital retailer. They’re currently $3 each on Amazon Prime.
This type of fracturing was always where subscribers, based in the United States especially, were headed. As more conglomerates launch streaming services to try to earn recurring revenue, there are more exclusivity plays. More exclusivity plays means there are likely more streamers to sign up for to watch every single movie or TV show in a franchise until all the licensing rights are bought back. Hopefully, eventually, Disney Plus will be home to every single Muppets title — the question is whether Disney wants to strike that licensing negotiation with Sony, and when.
If being able to watch any Muppets movie or TV show whenever possible means more to you than pulling up a site like JustWatch to see where something is streaming, just purchase them all. It’s a streaming-first world, but nothing beats ownership.