10 Classic 20th Century Fox Sci-Fi Films Missing From Disney + And Hulu

Marvel and Star Wars are not the only new properties under the watchful eye of Mickey Mouse.

In their landmark acquisition of Hollywood staple 21st Century Fox in late 2017, Disney was immediately granted access to an entire host of world-renowned film properties now at their disposal. A main draw of the purchase being Fox's library of science fiction films. However, due to various pre-agreed licensing deals and contracts set in place, there remains a sizable amount of sci-fi movies that have yet to make their way to Disney's premiere streaming platforms. 

Planet of the Apes
Pocket Lint.com

1. Planet of the Apes

An iconic franchise recently acquired in Disney's Fox acquisition is Planet of the Apes, a highly successful series of films dating back to 1968. Based on the 1963 French novel by author Pierre Boulle, Planet of the Apes' tale of the simian uprising against mankind in order to ascend to the dominant species on Earth is the pinnacle of science fiction filmmaking. Now that Disney has complete access to the brand, the possibilities for where the house of mouse can take the established sci-fi series are unlimited. Disney's newfound Star streaming service (an amalgam of Hulu / Disney + titles) has begun to stream the series overseas, but the United States is still missing out on the action. With a host of Planet of the Apes films in active development, expect the ape rebellion to spread to the U.S. through Disney + sooner rather than later.

2. Alien

Indie Wire.com

A franchise nearly as aged and iconic as Planet of the Apes is the one that began a decade later in the 1970s, Alien.  A crew of space explorers slowly being picked off by a frightening creature may make for great sci-fi horror, but not so much family-friendly content on Disney +. Now, while Disney subscribers shouldn't expect to see any Xenomorphs or face-huggers on Disney + any time soon (at least in the U.S.), the Alien franchise is ripe for Hulu.  A new Alien television series led by writer Noah Hawley was announced at the tail end of last year, to be released exclusively on Hulu. Disney likely would not want their show's audiences to witness Hawley's Alien vision without the original films to go along with the series.  

3. Independence Day

Independence Day
Film Grimoire.com

Not every science fiction film will have the nuance and social commentary of Alien or Planet of the Apes and that's where Independence Day comes in. As an alien invasion encroaches the Earth and its most renowned landmarks, the planet's last line of defense against the hostile forces from outer space begins to take shape. With a talented cast featuring Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Randy Quaid, and Vivica A. Fox, Independence Day (or ID4) quickly became a standout feature of the 1990s. There's a reason that the original film's success brought epic science fiction adventures back to cinemas and even laid the groundwork for the summer blockbuster of today. Independence Day is currently streaming on HBO Max, but don't be surprised if the aliens regroup and search for a new home on Disney + in the coming months.

4. The Fly

The Fly
The Historic Avalon Theater.com

It's the classic story of man's meddling with science, facing the grotesque consequences as a result. 20th Century Fox's 1958 science fiction The Fly original saw the plight of young scientist Andre Delambre (played by David Hedison), following the interference of a stray house fly. While somewhat dated today, The Fly was a complete eye-opener for the time period, influencing several sci-fi films to follow. Decades later, 1986's The Fly starring Jeff Goldblum alongside Geena Davis would return sci-fi's original insect to cinemas. The 1986 Fly is currently available for streaming via Disney + Star overseas but that should be the case universally, given that it's perhaps Fox's most unique sci-fi commodity. 

5. Predator

Frame Rated.com

Director John McTiernan's Predator (written by Jim & Joel Thomas) was an action movie starring 80s action superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger, in the guise of a science fiction film. Schwarzenegger stars as Major Dutch Schafer, a skilled soldier leading a platoon of highly skilled troops, who are unknowingly being stalked by a deadly and efficient visitor from outer space. Under 20th Century Fox, the Predator franchise has spawned several sequels and even a crossover with the Alien film series. Any future Predator films or shows will likely make a potential killing at the box office, due to the opportunity Disney presents for streaming. Now that yet another Predator adventure is on the way, it's only a matter of time before the creatures return for the hunt on Hulu. 

6. The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Loosely based on Harry Bates' short story Farewell to the Master, 20th Century Fox's 1951 Hollywood adaptation The Day the Earth Stood Still sees a massive alien automaton from outer space land on Earth on a day that every citizen will remember forever. Set to the backdrop of the cold war, The Day the Earth Stood Still served as a social commentary on the United States arms race. Only that it was a science fiction film that added to the cultural zeitgeist of the time with its theme of infiltration, conflict, and global paranoia. The film's 2010 remake starring Keanu Reeves is currently available to stream on Hulu but does not hold nearly the same significance as the original iteration. 

7. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
Den of Geek.com

Buckaroo Banzai sees a respected space hero traverse through the far reaches of space with his trusted allies in an attempt to put an end to a fixed war between two alien factions. The film stars Peter Weller as the titular Buckaroo Banzai alongside a host of sci-fi favorites from Jeff Goldblum, John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd, Carl Lumbly, and Clancy Brown. Buckaroo Banzai takes the conventional science fiction tropes of old and turns them on their head in new directions, with its eccentric cast and mythology. Though performing poorly at the box office, Buckaroo Banzai has gradually amassed a significant cult following of fans in the years since its initial release. 

8. Armageddon

Den of Geek.com

 A pre-Transformers Michael Bay directs this 1998 sci-fi flick starring Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Steve Buscemi, Billy Bob Thornton, and the late Michael Clarke Duncan. Armageddon opts out the giant robots for an asteroid hurtling toward Earth, with the only ones standing in its path being a crew of capable NASA astronauts. Though receiving a slew of mixed reviews from film critics, Armageddon went on to become the highest-grossing film of 1998. With its stellar box office and an all-star cast of A-List defenders, Armageddon is in many ways a spiritual follow-up to Independence Day. Light on substance and nuance, Armageddon thrives on the nature of being a science-fiction summer blockbuster. Not to mention neither are available to stream on either Hulu or Disney + worldwide.  

9. The Abyss

The Abyss
The Hollywood Reporter.com

Before James Cameron would rock the film industry with the release of 1991's Terminator 2 Judgment Day, Cameron would deliver 1989's The Abyss. While coming to a budget of over $40 million, The Abyss was a much smaller scale film depicting an oilfield crew's first encounter with a mysterious entity hailing from the deep blue sea. Though based in one primary location, The Abyss was a visual effects treat at the time of release, naturally winning the Award Award for Best Visual Effects. The film was Cameron's first use of the CGI technology which would prove vital for T2. Similar to Buckaroo Banzai, The Abyss was a box office bomb that did not gain true recognition and appreciation until later years.  

10. Big Trouble in Little China

Big Trouble in Little China
Nightmare on Film Street.com

Following his earlier science fiction ventures Escape From New York and The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China would mark director James Cameron's return to the coveted genre. The 1986 cult classic centers on truck driver Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) and his friend Dick Chi (Dennis Dun) embarking on a quest throughout San Francisco's Chinatown district in order to rescue Dick's loved one from the tyrannical sorcerer Lo Pan (James Hong). A martial arts romance in nature, Big Trouble in Little China can certainly double for both genres. Though it may not leave Earth or feature alien visitors, Big Trouble in Little China features several elements that'd be right at home in other sci-fi features. 

Over the course of several decades, 20th Century Fox has amassed a stable helping of science fiction classics.  As Disney + and Hulu expand to accommodate the major purchase of 21st Century Fox and its assets, these sci-fi new arrivals would only help to make Disney's streaming platforms as diverse and populated as they can possibly be for subscribers.

Current junior Writing Arts major attending Rowan University. I am an avid writer, comic book reader, and film enthusiast.

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