Disney DVD's

Discussion in 'DVD' started by JohnOPR, Mar 1, 2005.

  1. JohnOPR

    JohnOPR Stunt Coordinator

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    Why does Disney release its classics on DVD, make them available for purchase for a few weeks, then withdraw them? Seems to me that leaving them long term on the market would increase sales. I'm sure there are folks like me who failed to buy certain titles when they were on the shelf but who would now like to acquire some of those discs. Our options now are to spend big bucks buying from private individuals or to wait, hoping the titles will once more be released. I'm sure Disney has a reason for its policy. Could someone elaborate and explain it to me?
     
  2. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Disney is impatient and doesn't like to wait. By releasing them for a limited time, it drives up the sales during that limited time. Overall sales probably do suffer as a result, but such is the ego of Eisner and Disney.
     
  3. Jonny_L

    Jonny_L Stunt Coordinator

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    As a business model, its done well. George Lucas ripped it off for Star Wars and Indiana Jones long ago.

    Unfortunately, it's often unfair to customers. [​IMG]
     
  4. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Disney markets their animated classics to parents of young children. 6-8 years or so corresponds roughly to an average "generation" of children (age span of kids in a single family). Repromoting the films every 6-8 years actually works pretty well for them. There are obviously lots of other factors having to do with the video format in question and number of potential customers available that will affect which titles are released when.

    Regards,
     
  5. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    a few weeks

    I'll take a stab at this, although I'm pretty sure this has been convered before on the good ol' HTF.

    Going all the way back to the 40's, Walt Disney began a practice of re-issuing his films for new audiences. These fimls were special, and in many cases, they did not earn back their money on their initial release. Bambi did not earn back production costs until the early 50's, for instance. Walt Disney never lived to see Fantasia become a real money-maker. Still, the tradition or re-releasing the classic films lasted for decades, right up until the 80's and the Michael Eisner era. Eisner's Disney grew fat on the profits generated from selling the classic titles on home video. Problem was, once everybody owned them, there was no longer a demand to see them on the big screen. Pinocchio and The Little Mermaid returned to theaters after their home video debuts, with less than spectacular results. Ditto Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.

    To increase the demand (and therefore, the profits) from their best-selling titles, Disney re-releases these titles onto home video now on a cycle. It follows the old tradition, but it is more an example of raw business -- you increase demand by limiting supply. Many film studios do this, such as MGM with James Bond films, George Lucas with the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films, Spielberg with E.T., even small companies like Anchor Bay get into the act with their limited issue titles.

    There is only one Disney animated feature that has yet to appear on DVD -- Cinderella, and that will appear this Fall. Everything else has already been released. Most of the titles remain available, meanwhile, Disney limits supply of their top-selling titles to increase demand later down the road. These "reserved" titles are called the "Platinum Edition" titles by Disney, and they are:

    Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
    Pinocchio
    Fantasia
    Bambi
    Cinderella
    Peter Pan
    Lady and the Tramp
    Sleeping Beauty
    101 Dalmatians
    The Jungle Book
    The Little Mermaid
    Beauty and the Beast
    Aladdin
    The Lion King

    14 titles. 2 titles a year gives you a seven year cycle, just like the theatrical exhibition cycle of old.

    In the meantime, the rest of the Disney animated feature library is on permanent release, and these titles are even revisted from time to time with new special editions.

    If you had been buying the animated features when they were released, you'd only be lacking one animated feature title by now. Cinderella. From the six years spanning Fall of 1999 to Fall of 2005, in this time frame, Disney will have released all of their animated features onto DVD. Even Victory Through Air Power. Not to be indelicate, but it is not as if the general public has never had the chance to buy the 14 "Platinum" titles the last five years. Several were released as bare-bones Discs in 1999, the rest have been available on a limited basis, but widely advertised as being available for a limited time. If you want 'em, just buy 'em when they become avilable.

    Rumours abound that the live-action/animation hybrid Song of the South might follow in 2006. If so, purchasing that will probably be a smart investment, because God only knows when that title might come out again.
     
  6. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    And there are probably others who think "well, I don't really want Bambi right now, but I may want it two or three years from now". And those people thinking that (like, say, me) might not actually buy it. By announcing that something is available for a limited time, they can concentrate their marketing and sales to within a brief period, and maybe convince people like me to pay $20 for something now rather than wait until when it may cost $12 after a couple rounds of price drops. It also heightens awareness of the title.

    Sure, there are going to be some customers whom they miss out on, but it's probably balanced out by the ones who pay more than they otherwise would, or savings from not having to market them or maintain inventory after the initial push.

    Of course, it only works with a few evergreen titles - the Disney animated classics, Star Wars, James Bond, stuff that is entrenched enough in our culture to maintain a high profile during years of unavailability.
     
  7. Lars Vermundsberget

    Lars Vermundsberget Supporting Actor

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    That might not make things better now, but before DVD Disney used to give most of the "Classics" the "Platinum treatment" (that is availability for a limited time).

    If this model works for Disney, that's their business...
     
  8. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    But it's best NOT to wait for these titles, particularly the Platinum Editions. Some stores have the brilliant new Bambi DVD on sale for $14.99. So why wait for a price drop?

    Now, if you're presently in the market for the Snow White PE and you cannot find it anywhere for a reasonable price, then I can absolutely see why you'd be annoyed. But this has allllways been the Disney m.o. I don't begrudge them this method. As Ernest so eloquently implied...there WAS a time when the re-release / moratorium concept was absolutely great; great for families and great for the Disney studio.

    Switching gears a little, can one of you Disney experts explain this one to me: when were those four additional PEs added to the equation? Just curious for a few reasons...

    - Sleeping Beauty was just released (not long ago, anyway) in a fantastic SE. They could have slapped the "Platinum Edition" banner on to this release. Easily. So why has Sleeping Beauty been added to the Platinum roster? Perhaps they're planning to save it until the very last PE release - since this movie would be overdue for a double-dip by that point anyway?

    - How is Dumbo* not worthy of inclusion among the Platinum Editions? I know that there's a great "60th Anniversary Edition" DVD (which is still in print) - but it only stands to reason that Dumbo would be a part of Disney's "cream of the crop" banner designation.

    - Can we reasonably expect most of the Gold Collection titles to get SE-style upgrades? Stuff like The Aristocats, The Rescuers and The Fox and the Hound? (I'd bet the house they'll be announced eventually.) Oh, and The Black Cauldron, too. [​IMG] Only reason I've avoided the Gold Collection titles is because I just looOOoOoOoove the supplemental materials found on the 2-disc sets. I feel like I'm getting a mini-museum tour with each new addition.

    - And what of the "Masterpiece Edition" line? Far as I know Alice in Wonderland is the only one.

    To those who have not yet acquired a copy of this new Bambi DVD, go buy one right now: it's drop-dead gorgeous. I think it's quite possibly the best "Disney Classic" DVD that I've bought so far. The look and the sound of the film are sincerely amazing, it's got one of the finest audio/video commentaries I've ever experienced, and the supplements on Disc 2 are among the best yet from Disney. Aside from the promo stuff for Bambi and the Great Prince of the Forest (which I'm dreading like a trip to the dentist), it's a virtually perfect DVD.

    (I actually sat down and wrote out a very unofficial & incomplete "Guide to Disney DVDs" which you can read on my rambly-ass Live Journal, although you'll find much more complete information elsewhere. Only without my own patented geekiness.)

    [EDIT: My mistake. Pinocchio was among the four late additions to the PE line. I was thinking about Dumbo.]
     
  9. DaveRU

    DaveRU Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm still surprised that Dumbo isn't a Platinum title, it's ten times better than half of the other Platinum titles listed.

    I'm just waiting for Cinderella, and anamorphic updates of Lady and the Tramp, The Little Mermaid and Hercules. Then my disney collection will be complete. Though sucker that I am, I'll complete the line of Platinum titles too [​IMG]
     
  10. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    I couldn't agree more strongly. In my view, Dumbo always has been and most likely always will be the best Disney release. I asbsolutely treasure this film, and revisit it regularly. I would love to see this film receive the platinum treatment and a the restoration that it is worthy of receiving. The 60th anniversary disc is nice, but it could be so much better.
     
  11. ElevSkyMovie

    ElevSkyMovie Supporting Actor

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    Another thing that is annoying is that once a title is out of print, most rental stores can't get it either. No rental store in my small town has a copy of Toy Story or Toy Story II because the copies they had were scratched to the point they wouldn't play anymore. When I asked if they could get new titles, they said no. So I can't even rent them for my boys. Now I have to pay $50 or more for each title on ebay. [​IMG]
     
  12. LaurenceGarvey

    LaurenceGarvey Second Unit

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    My house was broken into a couple of years ago, and a few hundred DVDs stolen. Insurance replaced them, but I skipped replacing LADY & THE TRAMP or THE JUNGLE BOOK via eBay, knowing better DVDs would be coming along, so I'm particularly looking forward to these two titles. I have an extra of each of the Platinum titles locked away upstairs where burglars can't find them.

    The only Disney animated feature DVDs I didn't buy were the three I consider to be the nadir of the entire Disney canon, HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, ROBIN HOOD, and OLIVER & CO.
     
  13. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    The only reason a title is considered a "Plainum" title by Disney is total sales. Basically, you have the 14 highest-selling titles designated as PEs, the rest are on permanent release (pretty much). Quality has little to do with it, Disney is just reserving their highest-sellers for moratorium releases. That's the only logic behind the PE titles.
     
  14. Josh Simpson

    Josh Simpson Supporting Actor

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    That's the problem. And there are so many bootlegs out there as well. I did find Toy Story used at Hastings a while back, but am still looking for Toy Story 2 without resorting to amazon.com or ebay. I'm trying to be smarter though and buy those titles I want right now.

    Bambi will be in my hands this week while on sale. I reccomend others to do the same.
     
  15. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    Side question here -- Indiana Jones is OOP on DVD already? I know Episode I and II were, though they are being released again.
     
  16. RomanSohor

    RomanSohor Second Unit

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    Sleeping Beauty was issued as a "Special Edition", and was in the same vein as Alice in Wonderland Masterpiece Edition, that was when the Platinum Edition was only going to be 10 Titles, after Sleeping Beauty's release they made it a Platinum title as well.

    Masterpiece Editions of Pocahontas, Lilo and Stitch are forthcoming, and the ME of Mulan was recently released.

    The only movies I haven't bought from Disney (full theatrical releases at least) are Treasure Planet, which did not interest me, and Hunchback, which I heard was a bad transfer. The others I bought. Some, like Pocahontas, I dumped on Ebay, anticipating the new edition, and I sold The Little Mermaid because I will be upgrading that eventually as well.

    Somehow I lost my Lady and the Tramp DVD (along with Saving Silverman) but I would be upgrading that to anamorphic as well when that comes out.

    I am a Disney Completist, I guess. I woudl pick up TP if the price was right, too
     
  17. dave bula

    dave bula Stunt Coordinator

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    So is Disney going to do the same with the Toy Story films? As has been noted, they also have been withdrawn. And what about the other Pixar films that Disney controls, Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles? Will they also be pulled from release after a period of time? All of them are extremely popular and were hugely successful films and DVD releases, which seems to be the trigger that causes Disney to include films in this cyclic release pattern. The later addition of Sleeping Beauty to the list of those films to be withdrawn obviously came about after the DVD sold so much better than they must have anticipated. I remember that it was #1 for two weeks when first released.

    OK, I realize that The Incredibles DVD isn't quite out yet, but we all know that it will sell a ton when it's released in a couple of weeks.
     
  18. Josh Simpson

    Josh Simpson Supporting Actor

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    Well, Disney has expressed their interest in a Toy Story 3, even without Pixar's involvement, so maybe that's when we'll see Toy Story 1 and 2 on dvd... (shuddering at the thought)
     
  19. Kelly Grannell

    Kelly Grannell Second Unit

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    They'll re-release them once HD-DVD is on the market.

    Of course, they'll call it Disney HD-DVD... DHD-DVD.

    For some reason I see the similarity between Disney DVD and McChicken.
     
  20. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    One man's junk is another man's treasure. [​IMG]

    For me, Hunchback is part of the zenith of the Disney canon.

    I have NOT purchased...Lilo & Stitch, Atlantis, Treasure Planet, Home on the Range and Brother Bear. Notice a trend?! [​IMG]
     

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