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Dear Disney, it's over

Disney

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#1 of 13 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted July 30 2014 - 03:50 PM

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Dear Disney,

 

Lately our relationship hasn't been what it used to be, and it's not me, it's you. Okay, maybe it is me a little. I have changed. I've grown older, wiser, more mature since the good old days when Ashman and Menken could do no wrong, Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue notwithstanding. Those days are long gone. You claim the record stock price and the popularity of Frozen means you're doing better than ever, but for all the money I have given to this company in order to provide me with entertainment, lately I feel like I have been getting less and less for it. As a matter of fact, I had to sleep in my car to be able to afford my last trip to Disneyland. You keep raising the prices, but what are people getting for their money? What are cast members at the park getting for it?

 

Why are you still making 3D movies if you don't want to release them on Blu-ray in 3D in Region A, but you will make them available for streaming that way? I pay $51 a month for my Internet service with AT&T and I still can never get 2D movies to load in full resolution. Streaming is not as good as physical media and it never will be. It certainly isn't in its current form. If only you would allow more than a small number of your own films and TV shows to appear on Netflix. I didn't even like that ill-conceived revisionist mess called Maleficent, but the fact that it was in 3D in theaters but is not getting a 3D Blu-ray bothers me. Unlike Planes, which does warrant an American 3D Blu-ray release, Frozen, that Oscar-winning box office record-breaker everyone's been talking about, couldn't even rate one either! Actually, it did: in the UK. I upgraded to 3D just so I could watch it. And it looks quite nice. As does the lovely Blu-ray of 101 Dalmatians that still hasn't come out yet in the US. Hopefully when it does, it won't be anything like the same smudgy messes you turned The Sword in the Stone and The Jungle Book into, especially the former. Until you can figure out how to remove cel dust without removing pencil marks, don't bother calling these "restorations." They're not. They're grotesque alterations that barely resemble the originals. And you dropped extras from so many titles I can't even remember them all (except for Pete's Dragon. I never forget a slight against that film, either). But I do remember the promises you failed to keep, like those Blu-rays of Pollyanna and the Absent-Minded Professor films. We were promised those in 2013, and it is now the second half of 2014 and they are still only available in HD via streaming. It's like you're doing everything you can to discourage people from buying physical media. I would gladly do so if you gave me any incentive, but these are disincentives.

 

Your latest transgression against Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray was the straw that broke the camel's back. The dubbing aside, the 1996 restoration was a mitzvah, and for you to go back to the studio-imposed cuts was a horrific betrayal. The fact that you already did that to The Muppet Christmas Carol and Pocahontas was one thing, and there is no reason both versions of those films could not be included via seamless branching. They would have been perfect replacements for their respective DVDs. But to do this to Bedknobs and Broomsticks while offering a seamless branching option on Muppets Most Wanted, which you are releasing the exact same day, is at best stupid and short-sighted, and at worst a calculated insult to the makers of the film and to anyone who prefers the film the way the Sherman Brothers intended it to be. Even after one of them has died, you manage to screw them over yet again. Don't think for a second that putting most, but not all, of the scenes that a committee of seven cut out just to fulfill an arbitrary running time mandate into a supplementary section with no option to watch the film with them put back in the film where they belong, makes up for that. The fact that you would call this a "special edition" baffles me. The only thing that's special about this edition is the hubris that went into it! I should have realized not to expect much when the press release mentioned Mary Poppins, which itself has also lost extras on the flights between formats, more times than it mentioned the film that's actually on the disc. That's a film whose biggest 50th anniversary present from the studio was a making-of movie that's nothing but a spoonful of half-truths. At the establishing shot of the scene where Walt Disney and Helen Lyndon Goff go to Disneyland, what song do we hear? "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah," the theme song from Song of the South, which made all subsequent live-action/animation hybrids, as well as a major theme park ride and several characters who still roam some of the parks today, possible. So we still can't have that film even though the park is full of reminders of it, and other countries got it on VHS and even laserdisc? A boy beaten up over a lace shirt collar seeks an elderly black sharecropper's advice on how to outwit his bullies? We need that movie now more than ever. If you're so afraid of it, why not test the waters with something like a Disney Family Foundation making-of documentary? There's still plenty of time to change your mind in time for the film's 70th anniversary in 2016.

 

I don't think we should see each other anymore until you clean up your act. And I don't need you to be happy, even though it was because of you that I learned what it takes to be happy. As Julie Budd sang in The Devil and Max Devlin, "instead of waiting for those roses and rainbows, you'd better give them to yourself." And I'll be giving myself plenty of roses and rainbows, and not one red penny to anything of yours. No Disney movies, not even Pixar and its beloved Brain Trust that manages to magically turn almost every single movie into a mismatched buddy comedy. No parks. No ABC. No ESPN. No stage shows. No Marvel Comics. No Muppet anything unless Jim Henson was alive to be involved with it. I've threatened boycotts before, but this time I mean it.

 

If you want me back, you know what you have to do, and it's going to take more than just re-releasing Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray in its uncut form and removing the embargo on Song of the South. Start listening to your customers and start taking consumer input seriously. Look at companies such as Criterion and Shout! Factory and start striving to be at least as good as they are. Use your Disney Generations MOD program other than a dumping ground for outdated transfers; adopt the Warner/Sony way instead of the Fox way. Pay your cast members fair wages that take the cost of living into consideration. Be proactive about making catalog titles available on physical media. Most importantly, you used to say, "look to the name Walt Disney for the finest in family entertainment" on every movie poster. You're Disney. You can't do things half-heartedly and expect your consumers not to flock to one of your competitors. You need to earn the right to be able to say that again, and you need to make sure that statement includes all families.

Sincerely,
Matthew A


  • cafink, MarkA, OliverK and 19 others like this

Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


#2 of 13 OFFLINE   darkrock17

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Posted July 30 2014 - 04:02 PM

For them to get into my graces again, fix The Sword In The Stone as well as Bedknobs And Broomsticks, then we can talk again.


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#3 of 13 OFFLINE   ahollis

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Posted July 30 2014 - 06:51 PM

I'm not sure when the last time I bought a Disney Blu-ray was. Maybe the first release of SLEEPING BEAUTY? They haven't received my money since.
"Get a director and a writer and leave them alone. That`s how the best pictures get made" - William "Wild Bill" Wellman


#4 of 13 OFFLINE   Persianimmortal

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Posted July 30 2014 - 10:54 PM

While I agree with most of what Matthew's written, as most us know, large companies listen to the sounds of cash registers not complaining customers. Criterion and Shout! factory are relatively niche providers, so of course they listen to niche customers. Disney on the other hand probably finds niche customers annoying.

 

In short, almost everything being requested is perfectly reasonable, but will not necessarily add much if anything to their already huge revenue stream. So it comes across as a "Do the right thing, please", whereas what execs want to hear is "Here's how you can make plenty of extra cash". If there are sympathetic people at senior positions in Disney, a plea to do the right thing would work. But I doubt that's the case.


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#5 of 13 OFFLINE   bigshot

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Posted July 30 2014 - 11:17 PM

As if Disney cares about this post! Those guys are deep into hubris. The audience doesn't matter.


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#6 of 13 OFFLINE   classicmovieguy

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Posted July 30 2014 - 11:43 PM

I fear that the current Disney regime wouldn't even be *aware* of "The Devil and Max Devlin"...  so sad... 



"When I get a little money, I buy movies.  If there is some left over I'll attend to utilities and groceries".
 
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#7 of 13 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted July 30 2014 - 11:44 PM

And you forgot the disgrace of John Carter.

ERB would've ripped off Walt's head and shit down his neck.

#8 of 13 OFFLINE   classicmovieguy

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Posted July 31 2014 - 12:05 AM

This was written with absolute passion, and that needs to be understood right off the bat.  Like many of us here, Matt was looking forward to "Bedknobs..." going Blu, but the final product is nothing short of butchery.


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"When I get a little money, I buy movies.  If there is some left over I'll attend to utilities and groceries".
 
My DVD and Blu-ray collection - http://classic-movieguy.dvdaf.com/

 

 


#9 of 13 OFFLINE   classicmovieguy

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Posted July 31 2014 - 12:40 AM

I'm starting to fear that Disney is just interested in the "recent" and chasing the "next big thing".  In the meantime they are going to ride "Frozen" until the wheels fall off.


  • MatthewA likes this

"When I get a little money, I buy movies.  If there is some left over I'll attend to utilities and groceries".
 
My DVD and Blu-ray collection - http://classic-movieguy.dvdaf.com/

 

 


#10 of 13 OFFLINE   Konstantinos

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Posted July 31 2014 - 03:31 AM

I'm not sure when the last time I bought a Disney Blu-ray was. Maybe the first release of SLEEPING BEAUTY? They haven't received my money since.

I have bought 4 Disney Blurays and i don't think I'll buy anything else.

Unless in the (highly unlikely) event that they release in the future new restorations with grain and colors intact! (and no other errors/alterations) (just like the Thunderbean restoration of Gulliver's Travels)

I love seeing films, not moving cells..

If something like that happened, I wouldn't mind geting barebones Blurays wrapped up in a newspaper!

 

Right now, I'm in the process of hunting down the first unrestored DVDs that were released and have the versions which are more true to the original film prints.


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#11 of 13 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted July 31 2014 - 04:16 AM

Alright, some posts are unavailable for reading by the general membership.  A member has been banned from this thread.  Any further posts that references another HTF member in a negative context will not only be deleted, but posting privileges will be affected.


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Crawdaddy

 

Blu-ray Preorder Schedule

 


#12 of 13 OFFLINE   Will Krupp

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Posted July 31 2014 - 05:19 AM

I have bought 4 Disney Blurays and i don't think I'll buy anything else.

Unless in the (highly unlikely) event that they release in the future new restorations with grain and colors intact! (and no other errors/alterations) (just like the Thunderbean restoration of Gulliver's Travels)

I love seeing films, not moving cells..

If something like that happened, I wouldn't mind geting barebones Blurays wrapped up in a newspaper!

 

Right now, I'm in the process of hunting down the first unrestored DVDs that were released and have the versions which are more true to the original film prints.

 

I bought the animated blus I HAD to have (Snow White, Pinocchio, Mermaid and maybe one or two others) but the sad fact is, ever since the horribly re-imagined CINDERELLA DVD years and years ago, I knew that the Disney train had pretty much passed me by.



#13 of 13 OFFLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted July 31 2014 - 06:06 AM

The OP made his personal point. The further discussion went hardly anywhere and even led to unpleasant follow up.

 

Some members will like the thoughts as expressed in the first post, some may find it too much. It doesn't look like a useful discussion is possible this way, perhaps not even necessary.

MatthewA will undoubtedly nurture these feelings of him once more, now and then. :)

 

The thread will stay visible, but is closed for further additions.

 

 

Cees







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