Disney+ launched in the US on November 12, 2019 and ever since its launch has been gaining popularity! Disney owns multiple production studios, and has pledged to “unlock the Disney vault” for fans. Recently, the Walt Disney Company stated they are planning on spending billions of dollars (USD) on their streaming platforms Disney+, Hulu & ESPN+ by acquiring and producing more content. However, its been slightly over 2 years now and the service hasn’t grown much, with many films and series still missing. Today, I will be going over which documentaries Disney should add to the streaming service.
Let’s get into it!
Please Note: Not all documentaries are owned by Disney and the company would need to license or fully acquire the streaming rights for these films listed below – but some of them are Disney-owned just missing.
1. Walt Before Mickey – Walt Before Mickey is a biographical drama film about Walt Disney’s early years in business before the creation of Mickey Mouse, based on the book Walt Before Mickey: Disney’s Early Years, 1919–1928 by Timothy S. Susanin. The film stars Thomas Ian Nicholas as Walt Disney, Armando Gutierrez as Ub Iwerks, and Jon Heder as Roy Disney.
Production Companies: Conglomerate Media, Lensbern Entertainment and ALB Productions; Distributed by Voltage Pictures and Mission Pictures International.
2. The Age of Believing: The Disney Live-Action Classics – The Age of Believing: The Disney Live-Action Classics is a documentary film on the history on the Walt Disney Studios when Walt Disney made several unforgettable classic films. The film is narrated by Angela Lansbury and includes interviews of many cast and crew members who helped work on those films.
Production Companies: Fitzfilm
3. Industrial Light & Magic: Creating the Impossible – Industrial Light & Magic: Creating the Impossible is a documentary film about the incredible work of Industrial Light and Magic and how they revolutionized the way we see film with the introduction and advances of CGI or Computer Generated Images. The film stars George Lucas, J.J. Abrams, Jon Favreau, Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, Samuel L. Jackson, Jerry Bruckheimer, Robin Williams, Ron Howard and more!
Production Companies: Leslie Iwerks Productions
4. The Walt Disney Story – The Walt Disney Story is a biographical documentary about the story of Walt Disney’s life. The film is narrated by Disney using clips from interview recordings, and prepared for exhibition at the Disney Parks.
Production Companies: Walt Disney Attractions and Walt Disney Pictures.
5. Walt: The Man Behind the Myth – Walt: The Man Behind the Myth is a documentary tv special about Walt Disney and his wonderful works! The film stars Dick Van Dyke (narrator), Diane Disney Miller, Roy E. Disney, Dave Smith, Marc Davis, Ollie Johnston, Christopher Disney Miller, Julie Andrews, Edna Disney (archive footage), Elias Disney (archive footage), Roy O. Disney (archive footage), Walt Disney (archive footage) and more!
Production Company: Pantheon Productions and Walt Disney Family Foundation; Distributed by American Broadcasting Company (ABC) as a part of The Wonderful World of Disney.
6. Walt Disney World: A Dream Come True – Walt Disney World: A Dream Come True is a documentary on the historical perspective of the creation of Walt Disney World. The film stars Mason Adams (narrator), Carl Bongirno, Randy Bright, Dick Nunis and Walt Disney (archive footage).
Production Companies: RC Entertainment Inc.
7. It All Started with a Mouse: The Disney Story – It All Started with a Mouse: The Disney Story is an animated film that tells the story of Walt Disney and how he built the Walt Disney Company. The film stars Mason Adams (narrator), Roy E. Disney, Ken Anderson, Tony Anselmo, Claude Coats, Marc Davis, Rich Frank, Walt Disney (archive footage) and more!
Production Companies: Disney Channel
8. The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story – The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story is a documentary film on the life of animator Ib Iwerks who helped contribute to the creation of Mickey Mouse. The film stars Kelsey Grammer (narrator), Roy E. Disney, Don Iwerks, Ollie Johnston, Marc Davis, Dave Smith, Ub Iwerks (archive footage) and more!
Production Company: Leslie Iwerks Productions and Walt Disney Pictures.
9. The Sweatbox – The Sweatbox is a documentary film about Sting’s wife Trudie Styler that documented the turbulent bureaucracy both Sting and the filmmakers went through in order to complete The Emperor’s New Groove (2000), a Disney animated film. This film stars John Debney, Sting, Owen Wilson, Mark Shaiman, John Goodman, Tom Jones, David Spade, Patrick Warburton, Eartha Kitt and more!
Production Company: Xingu Films
10. Floyd Norman: An Animated Life – Floyd Norman: An Animated Life is a documentary film about Disney Legend Floyd Norman the first African-American animator at Disney and his life of “trouble.” The film stars Cosmo Anzilotti, Jane Baer, Dave Bossert, Suzanne Bothke, Adrienne Brown-Norman, Alice Davis, Whoopi Goldberg, Paul Dini, Dean DeBlois, Liane Abel Dietz and more!
Production Companies: Michael Fiore Films
11. People & Places – People & Places is a collection of documentary films produced by Walt Disney Productions. In October 2019, it was also announced that the documentary collection is being revived for the Disney+ streaming service.
Production Companies: Walt Disney Productions
12. Ghosts of the Abyss – Ghosts of the Abyss is a documentary film about a a group of scientists’ expedition to the wreck of the RMS Titanic, who dived in Russian deep-submersibles to obtain more detailed images than anyone had before. The film is directed by James Cameron and stars Bill Paxton, James Cameron, Dr. John Broadwater and Dr. Lori Johnston.
Production Companies: Walden Media, Earthship Productions, Ascot Elite Entertainment Group, Golden Village, Telepool and UGC PH; Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
13. The Magic of Walt Disney World – The Magic of Walt Disney World is a documentary featurette is served as a tour of the Magic Kingdom theme park, resorts and hotels and other areas within the Walt Disney World Resort. The film is narrated by Steve Forrest and later on an updated version was released on ABC as a part of The Wonderful World of Disney in 1974.
Production Companies: Walt Disney Productions; Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
14. The Making of ‘Star Wars’ – The Making of ‘Star Wars’ is a documentary special about the making-of Star Wars, and is the first ever Star Wars documentary to be released. The special stars Anthony Daniels as C3PO, R2-D2, William Conrad (additional narrator), George Lucas, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Alec Guinness and Gary Kurtz. It was originally released on ABC.
Production Companies: Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox Television.
15. SP FX: The Empire Strikes Back – SP FX: The Empire Strikes Back is a documentary special about the making-of the special effects (SP FX) used in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. The special is hosted by Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and features some of the cast and crew.
Production Companies: Lucasfilm; Distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television.
16. Classic Creatures: Return of the Jedi – Classic Creatures: Return of the Jedi is a documentary special about the making-of classic creatures seen in Star Wars films. The television special stars Carrie Fisher and Billy Dee Williams as presenters.
Production Companies: Lucasfilm; Distributed by 20th Century Fox Television.
17. From ‘Star Wars’ to ‘Jedi’: The Making of a Saga – From ‘Star Wars’ to ‘Jedi’: The Making of a Saga is a documentary special about the making-of the original Star Wars trilogy. The documentary special stars Mark Hamill (narrator), George Lucas, John Williams and Ben Burtt.
Production Companies: Lucasfilm
18. Star Wars Tech – Star Wars Tech is a documentary special about the science and technology of Star Wars including the droids used in the films. The television special is narrated by Dave Hoffman, and stars Lawrence Krauss and Jeanne Cavelos as commentaries.
Production Companies: Lucasfilm
19. With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story – With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story is a biographical documentary about the life and career of superhero comic book creator Stan Lee. The film stars Avi Arad, Jim Goodkind, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Piven, Sean Astin, Micheal A. Helfant, Joe Quesada and more!
Production Companies: 1821 Pictures, Emerging Entertainment and POW! Entertainment.
20. The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson – The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson is a puppetry television special featuring The Muppets Show, Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock characters as a tribute to Jim Henson who had passed away. The television special stars Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Steve Whitmere, Kevin Clash, Kathy Mullen and more!
Production Companies: Jim Henson Productions, Walt Disney Television and Don Mischer Productions; Distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television.
21. Double Victory: The Tuskegee Airmen at War – Double Victory: The Tuskegee Airmen at War is a historical documentary that details the full real-life story of the Tuskegee Airmen, and includes interviews with many of the surviving members. It was released on DVD/Blu-Ray with Red Tails.
Production Companies: Lucasfilm
22. The Skywalker Legacy – The Skywalker Legacy is a documentary film about the making-of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The film stars J.J. Abrams, John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie and more!
Production Company: Lucasfilm
23. Pixar: 20 Years of Animation and Counting – Pixar: 20 Years of Animation and Counting is a documentary about how the Pixar grew from being a small humble CG studio to what it is today. The film stars John Ratzenberger (narrator), George Lucas, Steve Jobs, John Lasseter, Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Billy Crystal and Roy Disney.
Production Companies: Pixar Animation Studios; Distributed by American Broadcasting Company (ABC) and is a part of The Wonderful World of Disney.
Many documentaries are already available on Disney+ in the United States, but the titles listed above are just a few of many still missing from the streaming service. Half of the documentaries listed are owned by Disney but are still locked away in the Disney, meanwhile the other half still need to be acquired or licensed to Disney. If you would like to stay up-to-date with the latest entertainment news please follow me on Instagram @mattsworldofentertainment and on Twitter @mattsworldofet. Have a great day and I will see you all real soon!
Image Courtesy: The Independant, Pixar Animation Studios & Wikipedia.