Where Can You Watch 'Lava'? This Year's Precious Pixar Short Is Finally Available For Streaming, But Act Fast
Just over a year ago, Disney launched an app called "Disney Movies Anywhere," and proved that it's really getting into the digital streaming game alongside its bigger peers like Netflix and HBOGo. It first appeared on Apple products, and quickly expanded to Android and Google Play. Many of your favorite Disney and Pixar films are already available — including Fantasia, The Aristocats, and The Lion King — as well as two sets of collected Pixar shorts. But for awhile, there was a noticeable gap — Lava. If not there, where could you watch Lava? For months, that answer was only in the theater — but on Jul. 30, the volcano short was added to the lineup, and can now be accessed alongside some of the greatest animated filmmaking of the past several decades.
Fortunately for Pixar fans, Lava will appear on the Disney Movies Anywhere app from Jul. 30 through Aug. 12, so I'd recommend logging in and memorizing all the words to that precious volcano song right now. Its accompanying feature Inside Out is still in theaters, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Lava will be made permanently available on the app after its theatrical run has concluded. For now, fans have two weeks to squeeze in as much volcano heartbreak as possible.
When the app first launched, Disney similarly gave users free access to The Incredibles as an incentive for signing up, so this move with Lava — one of the most in-demand and impressionable shorts Pixar has released to date — shows that the company is really serious about competing with other streaming services for audience attentions. According to The Verge, Disney, Pixar, and Marvel DVDs and Blu-Ray discs all come with a code allowing users to download the digital versions of the films. And regardless of whether you purchase a film in the iTunes Store or on Google Play, the movie will appear, via the magical mystery that is the cloud, in the competing player. (In case it wasn't evident, the "cloud" is still totally beyond me.)
A bunch of Disney films are already available outside the Disney Movies Anywhere app — I just watched Fantasia on Netflix last week, and Mulan is in there, too. But the app does something that a simple streaming service can't: the films are hosted within the app, so they're on your device all the time. And not only that, but the app also contains them in a discrete location, so they're easier to find and access. Plus, while Netflix's array of Disney films is quite good, it doesn't measure up to the huge variety Disney has made available on its own app.
Yet Disney initially resisted the tide's turn towards streaming, although there were certainly options. UltraViolet, a streaming service that — like Disney itself is now doing — allows users to simultaneously download and purchase physical copies of films, had around 20 million domestic users as of December 2014, Deadline reports. UltraViolet partners include Verizon FiOS and HBO, and it has obtained rights to many blockbusters of the past year through distribution companies. But Disney and Amazon notably declined to join the service, sticking with proprietary software to view their films. Now, it seems that Disney has heeded the call and is beginning to embrace the digital era. Purely by hype, Disney Movies Anywhere doesn't appear off to the most auspicious start, but if it's making titles like Lava, which is still in theaters, available already, that is sure to change.
With Disney's annual tech summit D23 coming up in less than a month, there are sure to be even more releases in store. From Apple Music to Spotify (to Google Play to SoundCloud to Pandora to Rhapsody), the sudden increase in video streaming and watching services available has provided plenty of methods for viewers and listeners who want to more easily and seamlessly access their media. But only one of those options includes Lava, so it looks like your choice has been made already.
Images: Disney/Pixar (3)