Netflix Quietly Removes Illumination's THE GRINCH Just Weeks Before Christmas; Here's Why

Illumination's The Grinch, 2018's CGI adaptation of the beloved holiday story from Dr. Seuss, was removed from Netflix on December 4 -- just weeks before Christmas -- with no warning.

Netflix subscribers looking to get into the holiday spirit may have noticed The Grinch, the 2018 adaptation of Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas from Illumination, was quietly removed from the streaming service. The film, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the green Christmas grump with a heart two sizes too small, was available throughout November and even into early December.

However, on December 4th, it was removed from Netflix, much to the surprise of many -- especially those with kids who enjoy Illumination's CGI take on the classic holiday story.  It seems like a rather Grinch-y move, to remove a beloved holiday story from the platform just weeks before Christmas.

But according to Decider, it may not have been Netflix's decision. The company hasn't released an official statement on The Grinch, but Decider reports that the real culprit behind the movie's removal is that Netflix's deal with Illumination and Universal Pictures had expired. Looper speculates that NBC, which recently aired a version of the stage show Dr. Suess' The Grinch Musical, starring Matthew Morrison (Glee), attempted to gain exclusive license rights for Grinch adaptations for its own streaming service Peacock; but, that hasn't been confirmed.

The good news is that there are still ways for fans of The Grinch to watch the movie digitally online. It's available to buy or rent on most digital platforms, including YouTube, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, FandangoNow. It's usually priced around $3.99 to rent or $9.99 to buy digitally so you never have to worry about licensing rights again. If you don't feel like paying, Netflix does still have the live-action How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which was directed by Ron Howard and starred Jim Carrey.

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