Disney Live-Action Disney+

Disney Movies that deserved a real theatrical release

Disney has released some incredible movies over the last couple of years and despite what you think of their most recent and forthcoming ventures, they still have films that have been released on Disney+ that deserve a lot more attention than the streaming platform.

Here are some of the Disney films that came directly to Disney+ that never had a proper theatrical release.

Peter Pan & Wendy

This J.M. Barrie-laden story saw Wendy and her brothers Michael and John get swept away by Peter Pan, or the boy who wouldn’t grow up, as colloquially described by Barrie. It plays out mostly the same as the 1953 with a few twists and turns and a more respectful view of the Indians.

Admittedly, this is not my favorite live-action Disney remake as it lacks the same awe-inspiring beauty that the 1953 film captured all those years ago but I can’t help but feel that this would have been a lot cooler to sit down in theaters with some popcorn and watch.

The One and Only Ivan

This is a Disney film that went very much under the radar. It follows a gorilla named Ivan, voiced by Sam Rockwell, who has been the star attraction at a circus inside of a shopping mall. He dreams of the days when he was with his gorilla family in the wild and attempts to escape. 

Seeing this visually stunning feat in Disney filmmaking seems like it would be impossible to pass up if one were given the option to see it in theaters. It seems like it could have been a good opportunity for Disney in the theatrical department.


Jamie Foxx plays a talented pianist named Joe Gardner who lands a gig performing at a jazz club. However, just a few moments after booking the gig, he falls down a manhole and is killed and sent to “The Great Beyond” and becomes a mentor for a soul named 22, voiced by Tina Fey.

The film was released in theaters to territories that didn’t have Disney+, but more likely than not, if you saw this movie, it was on the Disney streaming platform. It’s another shame the majority of people didn’t see it in theaters.


Pinocchio (voiced by Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) in Disney’s live-action PINOCCHIO, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This remake was met with a lot of derision from critics, but I can’t help but smile from ear to ear while watching this gleeful Robert Zemeckis film. The story sees a wood carver named Geppetto craft a wooden boy in the likeness of his deceased son. The boy is ultimately brought to life with the help of some fairy magic. 

As a result, the wooden boy learns right from wrong and how to be truthful, unselfish and brave along the way.

This film certainly has the magic of the 1940 Disney classic that inspired it and it does not at all deserve the hate that it has gotten from critics and audiences. This is a great film. I don’t care what anyone says.


This movie saw a young woman named Mulan who poses as a man to save her father from fighting in the war and faces off against Rouran armies and an evil witch with a dark secret. 

To be fair, the film was released in limited release in theaters, but that was at the height of COVID-19 when theaters had shut down for social distancing. Ultimately, Disney decided to release it on their platform for a premium fee. 

If we are going to be fair, Mulan was just dealt a bad hand and deserves another hot in the movie theaters because we never really would have known how much money it could have made if theaters were open nationwide. 

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