Ron Howard’s Iconic Sci-Fi Movie Isn’t Available To Stream Anywhere

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

Normally, the beauty of streaming is that when you get a hankering to watch a hit movie, it’s just a click away. That’s not the case with Ron Howard’s Cocoon; this Oscar-winning Ron Howard film isn’t available to stream, which is doubly odd considering that the inferior sequel is available. We did a little digging, and it seems like the primary reason that Cocoon is not streaming right now is because of licensing rights concerning the soundtrack.

Cocoon Is An 80s Classic

What is Cocoon about, exactly? This unconventional sci-fi movie is about residents of a retirement home who end up swimming in an alien pool next door that serves as a chlorinated fount of youth. The catch is that the pool and its powers belong to some aliens who end up inadvertently teaching the locals some lessons about life, mortality, and what it means to truly be human.

The Award Winning Cast

Wearing its heart firmly on its sleeve, Cocoon has all the warmth that characterizes a Ron Howard film. Helping him bring this story to life is a killer cast that includes Wilfred Brimley, Steve Guttenberg, Jessica Tandy, and many more. The most impressive actor is Don Ameche, and critics agree: he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for this role.

A Feel Good Hit

Speaking of critics, they generally loved Cocoon. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film currently has a critical score of 82 percent, with critics praising the film for being both gentle and emotional when it comes to a genre (science fiction) and topic (aging) that are often portrayed with sterile seriousness. The movie also did well at the box office, bringing in $85.3 million against a budget of only $17.5 million.

All of that makes the modern mystery surrounding Cocoon that much stranger. This is a major, award-winning film directed by one of the biggest names in Hollywood and filled with A-list actors. Why the heck is it not available on streaming?

The Potential Reason Why It Vanished

Fortunately for curious movie buffs everywhere, Uproxx did a very deep dive into this mystery a few years ago. After reaching out to just about everyone (including Ron Howard and Steve Guttenberg) and getting no real answer, the site received info from someone identified only as “a source with knowledge of the film.” According to that anonymous source, the most likely (but not only) reason Cocoon is not available to stream is that “the music in Cocoon is not currently cleared for new media or transnational sales.”

Cocoon: The Return Is Horrible

Making matters even more confusing for would-be streamers is that you can easily be misled by other films currently available. For example, you can rent a movie on Prime Video called Cocoon, but it’s a 2022 art house love story and not the 1985 Ron Howard masterpiece. Also, you can currently pay to rent the sequel Cocoon: The Return on platforms like Prime and YouTube, but trust us: that film is so bad compared to the original that they should pay you to watch it.

Buy Physical Media

There’s a lesson to be learned from this Cocoon streaming mystery, and that’s to always hold on to physical media. You simply never know when your favorite films and shows will be yanked off streaming, especially if it gives Warner Bros. a chance for another grubby little tax break. With your own physical media collection, though, you’ll always have the power to return to your favorite cinematic worlds…short of an alien swimming pool, this remains the single best way to relive your younger, happier days.