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Do Netflix movies expire?

Netflix offers an extensive library of movies and TV shows that users can stream on-demand. However, the available content on Netflix changes all the time as licencing agreements expire and new deals are made. So do Netflix movies expire and get removed from the streaming service? The short answer is yes.

Why do movies expire on Netflix?

The primary reason Netflix movies expire is due to licencing rights. Netflix enters into contracts with movie studios and other content providers to be able to stream movies and shows on their platform for a certain period of time, usually several years. Once that contract expires, Netflix no longer has the rights to stream that content and it gets removed from the service.

Movie studios regularly renegotiate deals with Netflix or make agreements with other streaming platforms. So when a licencing agreement expires, the studio may choose not to renew with Netflix or may only renew for a short period before the content goes to another service like HBO Max, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video etc. The content available on streaming platforms is very dynamic as deals expire and new deals get made on a regular basis.

How often do movies expire on Netflix?

Netflix movies expire from the service all the time. Various reports and surveys indicate that on average, about 500 titles (movies and shows combined) leave Netflix every month as contracts end. Though the quantity fluctuates month to month, the amount of exiting content is quite substantial.

Some key examples of popular movies that have left Netflix over the years are:

  • The Matrix (left in 2020)
  • Blade Runner (left in 2020)
  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy (left in 2021)
  • Caddyshack (left in 2021)
  • Pineapple Express (left in 2022)
  • Madagascar (left in 2022)

As you can see, even big mainstream hits regularly depart Netflix. The streaming service may try to renew some licences if the content is very popular, but it comes down to studios making deals that benefit them most.

How long do movies stay on Netflix?

There is no set duration for how long movies remain available to stream on Netflix. The licencing agreement that Netflix signs with a studio or content provider determines the length of time a movie will be included in the Netflix library before expiring. Some general ranges include:

  • Major recent Hollywood releases: 6 months to 2 years
  • Classic popular catalog titles: 3 to 5 years
  • Netflix original films: At least 4 years if not longer

So most movies on Netflix will stay available for streaming from around 6 months to 5 years before they get removed. Netflix originals have longer terms. But again, nothing is guaranteed and a movie’s availability depends on negotiations.

Does Netflix give notice before removing movies?

Netflix typically informs users around 30 days before a movie or show is set to expire from their service. A notification will appear when you select the title letting you know the removal date. However, there is not always a notice – sometimes licences end abruptly and content disappears with little warning.

Netflix also has a “Last Chance” section that highlights titles that are expiring within 30 days. You can browse this section to see which movies are leaving soon and watch them before they disappear from Netflix for the foreseeable future.

Why does Netflix remove movies and shows?

There are a few key reasons why Netflix regularly stops streaming popular movies and shows from its platform:

  • Expiring licencing agreements – As detailed above, rights deals eventually end.
  • Competing streaming platforms – Studios make deals with Netflix competitors.
  • Movie studio apps – Studios now have their own streaming apps.
  • Cost cutting – Removing some content helps control costs.

As the streaming landscape has gotten more crowded, content owners have more options of where to licence their movies and shows. And major studios like Disney and Warner Bros have launched their own streaming services, giving them incentives to limit content on Netflix.

Does removed content ever return to Netflix?

In some cases, movies and shows that were removed from Netflix do eventually return. This can happen when:

  • Netflix renews the licencing agreement after a period away. For example, Disney films regularly leave then return.
  • The rights become available again after expiry on another streaming service.
  • Netflix makes a new deal many years later for nostalgic catalog titles.

However, once highly popular movies and shows leave Netflix, they rarely return quickly. It’s not common for a major title to reappear within a year or two of departing. But it’s possible Netflix may get the rights again at some point down the road.

Where do expelled Netflix movies go?

When movies and shows leave Netflix, they often surface on other streaming platforms. Here are some of the common destinations for expired Netflix content:

  • HBO Max – Lost Harry Potter movies, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix
  • Hulu – Gained Pineapple Express, Madagascar, Caddyshack
  • Amazon Prime Video – Added some classic Paramount titles
  • Disney+ – Hosts lots of Disney, Marvel, Star Wars back catalog
  • Peacock – Streams Universal films like Back to the Future

In essence, Netflix loses much of its expired content to competitors as studios align themselves with other streamers. Movies may also temporarily disappear from streaming entirely as deals end, or move to premium rental platforms like iTunes or Redbox until a new streaming licence starts.

Does Netflix Lose its Most Popular Movies?

Many of Netflix’s most beloved and successful movies have eventually left the service. This includes major blockbusters like:

Movie Netflix Status
The Notebook Expired in 2020
Wedding Crashers Expired in 2020
Pineapple Express Expired in 2022
Madagascar Expired in 2022
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Expired in 2022

Studios often see major commercial titles as an opportunity to cash in once a Netflix deal expires. While Netflix fights to retain content, they regularly lose top movies to competitors willing to pay more for streaming rights.

Do Netflix originals expire?

No, Netflix original movies and shows do not expire from the service. Unlike licenced content, Netflix owns the streaming rights for its original programming in perpetuity. Some examples of evergreen Netflix original films include:

  • The Irishman
  • Marriage Story
  • Roma
  • Bright
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

As long as Netflix exists, its branded original content will be available on the platform. Even shows and movies distributed by Netflix but not produced in-house remain on the service as part of their initial deal.

How often does Netflix lose content?

On average, Netflix loses around 500 titles (movies and shows combined) each month as licencing deals expire. A Frost & Sullivan study estimates Netflix’s annual content churn rate is around 36%. This amounts to lots of programming turning over each year.

Within their entire catalogue, around 20% of Netflix content disappears annually. But the churn rate is higher for more valuable and watched content. Amongst movies and shows regularly viewed in the U.S., around 50% will leave Netflix each year due to expiring agreements.

Does Netflix lose content to competitors?

Netflix absolutely loses lots of popular movies and shows because rival streaming platforms make more appealing content deals. Major examples include:

  • Friends – Left for HBO Max in 2020
  • The Office – Departed for Peacock in 2021
  • Star Wars movies – Now on Disney+
  • Harry Potter films – Moved to HBO Max

As media companies consolidated and launched their own streaming services, they often reclaimed rights for key titles Netflix benefitted from. And studios now selectively license content between streamers.

Does Netflix still get some expiring content back?

Despite losing licencing rights on a continuous basis, Netflix does occasionally regain expired movies and shows years later. Some examples:

  • Madagascar franchise – Returned in 2022 after leaving in 2016
  • Pineapple Express – Back in 2022 after leaving in 2020
  • Hoosiers – Returned after expiry in 2015
  • Boyhood – Back in 2021 following 2017 departure

Content disappearing from Netflix indefinitely is becoming more common in the streaming wars. But the service still has a chance to bring back some titles thanks to its reach, resources and vast catalogue renewal needs.

Does Netflix pay to keep content?

Netflix spends billions of dollars per year to licencing content from studios and distributors. In some cases where Netflix has streaming rights for major franchises and shows, the company will pay huge sums trying to retain rights.

For example, Netflix reportedly paid:

  • $100 million to keep Friends for just 1 year before it left for HBO Max
  • Over $500 million for global rights to Seinfeld for 5 years starting in 2021
  • $200 million per year to retain The Office reruns for several years after expiry

However, Netflix generally won’t overpay at any cost just to keep content. The streaming giant develops cost models to determine the value of licences to guide deal making.

Does Netflix still buy movie licences?

Yes, Netflix continues to actively licencing both new and existing movies to refresh its film catalogue amidst rapid churn. Some major movie deals in recent years include:

  • New Sony Pictures films like Uncharted starting in 2022
  • Paramount titles like The Tomorrow War upon theatrical release
  • Recent Universal films such as Nobody added in 2021
  • High-profile classics and franchises like Back to the Future, Karate Kid, Rocky, and more

Netflix wants quality movies to retain subscribers. While producing original films, the streaming giant remains very active in acquiring licences from Hollywood studios and other partners to combat its regular loss of content.

How does Netflix decide what content to renew?

Netflix uses data, analytics and human judgement to decide which expiring shows and movies warrant a new licencing agreement. Key factors include:

  • Viewership – how often a title is streamed
  • Completion rate – % of subscribers who finish watching
  • Cultural impact – buzz and critical reception
  • Cost – proposed licence expense vs. projected value
  • Competition – bids from rival streamers

Netflix analyzes all these dimensions and more to determine if renewing rights to content makes economic and strategic sense. Top titles bring the most renewal focus.


Due to evolving licencing agreements, movies consistently expire from the Netflix streaming library. Major titles old and new depart regularly as deals end and studios make new partnerships. While Netflix tries retaining its most popular content, competitors with deep pockets continue acquiring rights the streaming giant previously held exclusively. So nothing stays on Netflix forever – even the most successful movies eventually leave the service.