Streaming exclusivity gets tricky when Netflix and Hulu’s most acclaimed originals are denied a physical release. Platform originals are meant to ensure that subscribers stick around to watch their favorite films and shows whenever they like, but we’ve seen this strategy backfire with Hulu’s The Princess, Netflix’s Oscar-winning The Power of the Dog, and a handful of Disney+ shows, all of which were removed from their platforms. Some films can score a home video release with third parties like Criterion, but not every streaming original is so lucky.
Exclusives are at the mercy of their host service, and they can disappear forever with little warning. With the streaming bubble bursting, it’s become much harder to watch a lot of the shows we’re supposedly paying to have perpetual access to, but that’s what makes Disney’s latest move with one of its most popular exclusives, Prey, a comforting return to form.
The Hulu exclusive, produced by 20th Century Studios, will get a physical release on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD on October 3. The Dan Trachtenberg film never got a theatrical release, but this is a major consolation prize. Despite being limited to streaming, Prey became an instant sci-fi horror classic for its brilliant remix of the Predator franchise. It turns the clock back to 1700s America and pits a slightly less-advanced Predator against a fierce Comanche tribe. Amber Midthunder stars as Naru, a skilled warrior who must protect her home from the otherworldly threat.
Prey’s physical release will include over two hours of bonus footage, including a director’s commentary, a Making Of featurette, deleted scenes, and an alternate opening scene. The release also contains the Comanche dub, allowing viewers to watch a version of Prey that’s more faithful to history (aside from the Predator).
Disney’s announcement comes after a fan campaign for a physical release, and it’s a promising new development for streaming originals. Hopefully other movies will get the same treatment, and the annoying era of digital exclusivity can come to a merciful end.