Disney to support Blu-ray

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Andy Patrizio, Dec 8, 2004.

  1. Andy Patrizio

    Andy Patrizio Stunt Coordinator

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    Just came across the wire. Disney has joined the Blu-ray board and will release Blu-ray flicks through Buena Vista. They were rather specific in stating BV, and not all of Disney. I'm hoping for a comment from Disney today to see if this means all Disney properties or just BV.

    But if Disney goes on board BR, together with Sony and MGM, I would say momentum is back on Blu-ray's side in a big way.
     
  2. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    Now if only Universal, Warners, New Line and Paramount would jump ship, then we (Blu-Ray camp) would really have something to cheer about.



    [​IMG]
     
  3. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

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    Disney isn't producing any decent films lately anyway, and if they don't improve, it won't matter. I don't think Animation can look any better than it does on DVD, so I don't think they will have a big draw as you think. That is unless they start making some good films again.
     
  4. Andy Patrizio

    Andy Patrizio Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah but we're talking libraries. Look at the potential back catalog on Blu-ray now, with Sony, MGM, Fox and Disney:

    Star Wars
    Disney animated
    Miramax Oscar titles
    Bond franchise
    Spider-Man

    etc. etc. 2007 is closer than you think. You think George won't pass up the chance for a 30th anniversary DVD, and make it Blu-ray? The Star Wars DVDs were a) rushed and b) held back a lot.

    I still think the deciding factor will be security and encryption, and by the looks of it, Blu-ray has HD beat hands down.
     
  5. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Well, I'm gonna have to buy the animated films again.

    God please let them have a better track record in this format than they did with DVD.
     
  6. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

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    Fox hasn't committed to either Blu-Ray or HD-DVD. They have joined the Blu-Ray group, but most people fail to mention they also joined the HD-DVD Forum. And Disney isn't going to want to release it's heavyweights until the format is estabilshed. Neither is Fox. Look at how long it took Lucas to put out Star Wars. Sure, their will be a 30th anniversery edition, but I highly doubt it will be on HD-DVD or Blu-Ray. It will be on DVD. The reason Lucas waited so long was because their wasn't an established market. He will wait till there's at least 30-40 million players out there. If you think that will happen in less than 3 years you are kidding yourself. Especially is there are competing formats. I just don't think Sony is going to win. Those who don't learn from history are destined to repeat it. Sony never wins any of their format wars. I'm not saying it's over, but it's up in the air right now. And I hope HD-DVD wins out, because it's a better format for the consumer.
     
  7. Andy Patrizio

    Andy Patrizio Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok, I jumped the gun on Fox. But why do you think HD is better for the consumer, when BR has much more capacity and some hefty CE efforts behind it?
     
  8. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    "And Disney isn't going to want to release it's heavyweights until the format is estabilshed."

    Yes and no -- Blu-Ray and HD-DVD may not follow the absorption rate of DVD, and may in fact wind up resembling the laserdisc model, at least initially. We have to remember that both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD are backwards compatible, which means consumers will likely not be junking their current libraries a'la VHS, they will be *upgrading* their *prestige* titles. If you already own Robin Hood and Oliver and Co., are you going to go running out the door to replace them with a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD disc, if they have the same basic features? Unlikely. The Fantasia Anthology, though, or Snow White or the Pixar titles -- these you might consider.

    For this reason, I think it is not outside the realm of possibility that Disney will actually stick with their current Platinum Release schedule, which concludes in 2007 and starts up again in 2008. That means it is not outside the realm of possibility that in 2008, Pinocchio will be released on Blu Ray. And while Disney bean counters may not consider that a "heavyweight" title, for Disney fans and animation fans, Pinocchio is a 600 lb. Sumo God. We might even see Fantasia come out in the same year, since it has also been added to the Platinum Collection, and follows Pinocchio on the current home video release timeline. Pinocchio and Fantasia on Blu-Ray in the same year? It's possible -- if the format is available in 2008, that is.
     
  9. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    The HD-DVD format war is officially over, and Blu-Ray is the loser. Disney has backed the wrong horse at every turn for about the last 20 years. They fought DVD. They backed DiVX. They let their partnership with Pixar collapse - and Pixar has produced the only decent "Disney" fare in about the past decade. The Eisner/Katzenberg mess (look who ended up staying) the Miramax rupture, you name it, Disney has ended up on the losing side of the equation. So if they like Blu-Ray, it pretty much has to suck and you can bet the ranch that with Disney backing it Blu-Ray would lose a format war to View-Master. [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  10. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

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    Well, I've got a few of those laying around the house so at least the hardware upgrade won't cost much.... [​IMG]
     
  11. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    "They let their partnership with Pixar collapse - and Pixar has produced the only decent "Disney" fare in about the past decade."

    Did Disney really lose that battle? Consider that Disney owns all the rights to every feature Pixar has made for Disney. Especially the lucrative home video video rights. Along with other provisos, Pixar wanted those back in order to continue to make movies for them. Disney said no. They're keeping their chips. Now, imagine a few years from now when CGI animation is now passe', and everybody is releasing CGI films. Pixar is now operating in a much more crowded marketplace, and as an independent, doesn't have the sequel rights nor the home video rights to its past work to bring in much needed capital. Imagine Lucas trying to build ILM and Lucasfilm and Skywalker Ranch without the revenues from his SW trilogy. Imagine Walt Disney trying to branch out and experiment without owning the rights to Mickey Mouse. That's where Pixar goes from here. Disney, however, has seven more bullets they can fire onto home video whenever they want, and rake in the dough. Did Disney really lose? If you count winners and losers by dollars and cents, only time will tell who the ultimate loser in the Pixar / Disney deal was.

    "The Eisner/Katzenberg mess (look who ended up staying)"

    Roy Disney didn't especially care for Katzenberg, at least, didn't care for Katzenberg trying to take credit for the success of DFA. It can be argued that the death of Frank Wells was a far, far bigger blow to Disney than the loss of Katzenberg. Katzenberg's hand-drawn films certainly weren't much to crow about. I'll take Tarzan over El Dorado, and Lilo and Stitch over Spirit, any day.

    "the Miramax rupture"

    Seems odd to call this a loss for Disney right now, since Disney will own the entire Miramax library, and will be able to make money off those films for decades to come. Miramax and Disney were never a good fit, because people who had agendas against certain Miramax titles always called them "Disney" films. Notice, you never heard people calling "Shakespeare in Love" a Disney release, or "The English Patient". As soon as Miramax did something controversial, certain loud voices in the media suddenly used the Disney association as a weapon. "Disney's Priest", "Disney's Kids", "Disney to release anti-catholic film, Dogma", "Disney to release Michael Moore film", etc.

    So once again, did Disney lose?

    "You name it, Disney has ended up on the losing side of the equation."

    Look, I think the company is being run today like some sort of media Wal-Mart, which can't have good long-term effects on the perception of the company, but the frustrating thing for Roy and Stanley and the rest of us "Save Disney" supporters is that Disney has been doing pretty well financially the last two years. Would Disney be stronger giving up the rights to the existing mega-hit Pixar films in exchange for more films from them, or is Disney better off keeping the rights and making their own CGI films, seeing as how the CGI rage is certainly going to die down, once companies start making more and more CGI toon dreck? We don't know yet.

    As for Blu-Ray -- Disney and Playstation are enormously powerful media giants. If both have adopted it along with others, that is not to be taken lightly.

    As for Divx, nobody could have sold that format. Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts could have gone door to door trying to sell that concept - paying money every time you tried to play a film - and it would have failed. When I got into DVD, the same Disney titles available for Divx (i.e. Mary Poppins, George of the Jungle, etc.) were also available for DVD. I take your word for it that Disney may have fought DVD, but it sure doesn't look like it was a long battle.
     
  12. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    It is easy to say "Nobody could have sold [DIVX]" now, but when it was announced - a year before it was an actual product - it seriously slowed the growth of "open" DVD and many people were betting that it, rather than sell-through DVD, was going to win that format war. One of the players betting on DIVX was Disney. Those titles that were available on both formats when you got into DVD were DIVX exclusives for a long time before that. DIVX and DVD competed for a couple of years before the DIVX-only studios finally gave up and the format disappeared. And as I recall Disney was among the first studios to go with DIVX and among the last to embrace "open" DVD. (And, IIRC, they were also one of the studios that dragged their feet the longest about supporting something as simple as anamorphic widescreen. For the first several years of "Disney DVD" - and what a crock that designation was, as if the bastards had invented the format - the studio refused to release anamorphic widescreen discs as a matter of corporate policy.)

    I had my tongue at least partly in cheek before, but I'll say this again in all seriousness. Disney is being run by morons who have an almost 100% track record of being wrong when it comes to guessing what the public wants and what direction their own industry is going to take in the future. If they're backing Blu-Ray I'm running away from it as fast as my legs will take me. Because Disney has the Midas touch in reverse these days. Everything they touch turns to - well, let's be polite and say "DIVX". [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  13. GregK

    GregK Screenwriter

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    Good point.. Blu-Ray doesn't have a 3-D video mode. [​IMG]
     
  14. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    "Disney is being run by morons who have an almost 100% track record of being wrong when it comes to guessing what the public wants..."

    Is that why they were the #1 studio last year in box office receipts?

    "Everything they touch turns to - well, let's be polite and say 'DIVX'."

    Theme park attendance - up.
    Film revenues - up.
    TV ratings - up.
    Stock price - up.
    Respect from long time Disney fans - down.

    "many people were betting that it, rather than sell-through DVD, was going to win that format war."

    What - did they all own stock in Circuit City?

    "Those titles that were available on both formats when you got into DVD were DIVX exclusives for a long time before that."

    Okay, let's see now...I saw my first DVD player in probably Spring 1997 at Dave's Video on Ventura and Laurel Canyon in North Hollywood. I think they were playing Dragonheart on it. By the end of 1997, Disney was releasing titles on DVD. So, what's this long period we're talking about? 9-10 months give or take?

    I'm not sure when Disney began to officially release titles on DVD, but Bill Hunt of The Digital Bits was talking about Disney's DVD releases *at least* as early as November of 1997. And according to Hunt, Michael Johnson, then-President of Buena Vista Home Video, said "No Disney title will be Divx exclusive".

    All this in the first year of DVD availability. Mary Poppins was released on DVD in March 1998, roughly little more than a year after the introduction of Divx players in Circuit City stores in LA.

    Here's what Bill had to say on the issue back on 12/6/1997:

    Some on the Internet have speculated that Disney's animated films will appear first on Divx discs. But with Divx nothing but vaporware at the moment (and now not expected to roll-out widely until late Summer or Fall 1998, according to recent articles), I suspect that it has more to do with waiting until DVD players appear in enough living rooms to guarantee a high volume of sales for titles like The Lion King and Aladdin. Keep in mind that Michael Johnson, the President of Buena Vista Home Video, has been quoted as saying that no Disney titles will be Divx exclusive.

    All and all, I must say that I'm certainly excited about Buena Vista's upcoming DVD titles. I've already picked up Tombstone and The Rock, and I'm very pleased with the overall quality of both discs. The 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack on The Rock is excellent (the sound of the missile blasting over Candlestick Park is absolutely thunderous on my system!). I may yet have to buy Ransom, and Sling Blade, Crimson Tide and Trainspotting are definitely on my purchase list. And with titles like Con Air and Mary Poppins just around the corner, I think The Mouse's commitment to open DVD is clear. Can't wait for The English Patient! You're off to a great start Disney!

    --Bill Hunt, The Digital Bits
     
  15. Andy Patrizio

    Andy Patrizio Stunt Coordinator

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    It's rather difficult to debate with someone who makes absolute, blanket statements, so I won't bother.

    The Divx analogy is wrong. People opposed DVD, vehemently. Circuit City was boycotted, and I can't help but wonder if the sentiment remains, given Best Buy's position these days.

    BR/HD is now going to be a war of support, marketing and technology. OEM-wise, Blu-ray has HD over a barrel. This will translate into marketing, as more OEMs means more money going into getting the name out.

    That leaves support. It will all depend on who blinks first and crosses platforms. Warner is in it to the end, which scratches Blu-ray LOTR discs for the time being. But if Paramount or Uni decide to do BR titles, that could be the end of the debate.

    We shall see. CES should be VERY interesting.
     
  16. Michael St. Clair

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    "Disney said its plans to release movies on the Blu-ray format are nonexclusive, meaning it could publish movies on other formats as well."
     
  17. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    Disney doesn't particularly care, peeps. If there is a market, they'll want to be in it, selling their wares. Divx? Fine. Dvd? Fine. EZ-D? Fine. View-Master? Why not.
     
  18. Andy Patrizio

    Andy Patrizio Stunt Coordinator

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    Ah, I'm making a great showing of myself. [​IMG] Shutting up, then.
     
  19. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    Which is the same situtation as all those other studios a few weeks ago that announced "nonexclusive" releases on HD-DVD too. Everyone's leaving themselves with an out.
     
  20. ElAhrai

    ElAhrai Stunt Coordinator

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    And with everyone leaving themselves an out I can't help but think that neither format is going to get the necessary support to get a leg up on their competition.

    I think that with the huge market penetration of DVD, the relatively poor market penetration of HDTV and the gobs of misinformation out there (such as those who believe that DVD is *already* an HD format) that getting either format going is an uphill battle.
     

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