Disney Announces Removal of Lord of the Rings Movies on Hulu

By Savannah Sanders Updated:
Lord of the Rings Hulu

Several Lord of the Rings movies will be removed from Hulu in September.

While various movies and television series are constantly being shuffled from one streamer to another, recent cost-cutting measures - especially by Disney - have led fans to think of content removal differently. 

And, while three of Peter Jackson's Tolkien films are headed out Hulu's door, fans should note they're not all from the same trilogy.  

Lord of the Rings Movies Leaving Disney's Hulu

 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers poster
Warner Bros.

According to Disney, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be removed from Hulu on September 30. 

2002's The Two Towers and 2003's The Return of the King are the respective second and third films of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. 

2012's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was the first film in Jackson's second Middle-Earth trilogy and also served as a prequel to The Lord of the Rings films.

Even though these three films have been streaming on Hulu, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and the additional two films from The Hobbit trilogy have only been available via a Max (formerly known as HBO Max) add-on. 

While the departure of these films is likely due to licensing and contract agreements, throughout 2023, the removal of certain shows and movies has also been attributed to cost-cutting measures, particularly in terms of platforms owned by Disney and Warner Bros. 

However, since Warner Bros. owns the rights to The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies through New Line Cinema, both trilogies are expected to continue streaming on Max.

Lord of the Rings Goes There & Back Again

Even though Peter Jackson's Middle-Earth movies are expected to remain on Max, it's possible that the films may be headed for other streamers post-Hulu. 

While that would explain their removal, the complexities surrounding what movies and television shows stream where and why are only getting more complicated. 

For instance, the issue of streaming residuals is one of the various reasons behind the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes and in the wake of Disney and Warner Bros. purging content from their platforms.

Whether any of this factored into The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit's removal is unknown, it's also worth noting that more Lord of the Rings streaming content is on the way. 

Amazon Prime's The Rings of Power, a 2022 prequel series to Jackson's two trilogies, is confirmed to be receiving a second season. Also, a film reboot from Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema is reportedly in the works. 

The Two Towers, The Return of the King, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be streaming on Hulu until September 30. 

- About The Author: Savannah Sanders
Savannah Sanders joined The Direct as a writer in 2020. In addition to writing for The Direct's Star Wars, Marvel, and DC teams, Savannah specializes in the relationship between Disney's blockbuster franchises and the Disney Parks.