If Kevin Costner’s recent, heartfelt eulogy for Whitney Houston, as it appears to have done for so many, inspired you to watch The Bodyguard, you can just stream it on Netflix—or, at least, you could if it were a couple of weeks ago, when Houston was still alive. As reported by Google Plus Week host Dan McDermott (and backed up by numerous very angry comments), Netflix pulled the title from its streaming library shortly after Houston’s death, ostensibly for the same reasons Sony “mistakenly” doubled the cost of her albums:
I called Netflix and the rep confirmed what I suspected:
Netflix rep: "Okay Dan, I just went and talked to my main supervisor as to why the movie had been pulled and the reason it was pulled was the production company pulled the streaming rights from us because all the publicity after Whitney Houston's passing there was an opportunity to make really a very large amount of money on the DVD sales of her movies. So they're going to pull all the streaming titles we have of Whitney Houston so they can make more money off the DVD sales of her movies."
Netflix has now countered McDermott’s claims, with Vice President of Corporate Communications Steve Swasey telling Digital Trends that it’s “just not true”—that in fact, the company hasn’t had The Bodyguard available for streaming “since the license expired last year.” For what it’s worth, McDermott stands by his original report, and there are several testimonies from Netflix customers complaining that they were able to watch it instantly only days before her death. But then, what reason would Netflix have to lie now, except to avoid worsening an already-tenuous relationship with Warner Bros. by admitting to colluding with them in a ghoulishly opportunistic exercise? Maybe it is just a coincidence. An awful, accidentally profitable coincidence.
Anyway, it’s worth noting that the Fox-produced Waiting To Exhale is still streaming on Netflix, that Amazon Prime is screening The Bodyguard for free to its members, and that sentiment aside, The Bodyguard isn’t a very good movie.