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Gotta wonder if Disney is through with 4K classic releases (1 Viewer)

Dick

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Since the CINDERELLA and SNOW WHITE 4K releases, there hasn't been a peep regarding any further classic animation titles in the format. What with all the buying and selling and merging and purging, it's hard to say in which direction any of Disney's properties will be going, and whether physical media will even be a part of their plan. Having seen the first two in the 4K "series," my mouth watered as I imagined forthcoming 4K's of BAMBI and FANTASIA and JUNGL;E BOOK et al. I don't suppose anyone out there has any information?
 

richardburton84

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The most I’ve heard in this regard is that the team expressed a desire to do Fantasia, Sleeping Beauty, and Alice in Wonderland in the same manner as Cinderella and Snow White (this was revealed in an article about Cinderella’s restoration put out a few weeks before the release of the 4K Snow White). Aside from that, I’ve sadly heard nothing concrete on the matter (I would certainly like to a 4K of Sleeping Beauty, especially since this year is the film’s 65th anniversary).

The article is included in the below link and the passage about what the restoration team would like to do is near the end:

 

Thomas T

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Disney is only interested in money! If they can make a fat profit on it, I'm sure there will be. They're not interested in breaking even. I think Disney has made it clear they're more interested in streaming now than physical media because that's where the money is!
 

Jake Lipson

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All of the below is speculation and not based on any official information. But here are my best guesses.

I wouldn't necessarily assume that their silence means nothing will ever come out again. We know that Disney is currently in the process of transitioning their physical media to Sony for distribution. Perhaps they want to let the dust settle regarding that before making any further announcements. We just don't know right now.

Furthermore, the releases of Cinderella and Snow White were both timed to Disney's 100th anniversary celebration last year. I'm sure they took a long time to get those restorations exactly right. If they are doing more, it might take a while to get those ready. If Disney was going to use only two animated classics as test cases for vintage titles in 4K, Cinderella and Snow White seem like good choices. Also, it's not like those releases were all that long ago. Snow White came out last October.

My guess is they would also consider how Cinderella and Snow White sold as a guideline to determine the level of interest in future releases. I don't recall seeing any information about how those did.

Disney in general can be inconsistent with their release plans. Ten years ago, Walt Disney Records started The Legacy Collection of expanded deluxe soundtracks and released 12 albums between 2014 and 2015. Then, there was nothing until Robin Hood in August 2017. Beauty and the Beast arrived in February 2018. After another long gap, The Hunchback of Notre Dame popped up in September 2021. Aladdin is the most recent release in September 2022. There was nothing last year, and (as of yet) nothing announced for 2024.

As you can see from these dates, the releases have been erratic for the last several years. But you never know if something could pop up as a surprise at some point. Perhaps future 4K releases could be the same. It's not exactly the most helpful thing for fans because we like to know what is going on at all times and when we can expect more of our favorite things. But erratic releases are better than nothing.

Even the news of the Cinderella restoration came as a surprise to me last year. I had no expectation that they were going to do that until they did it and figured that the Diamond Edition Blu-ray was probably my last ever purchase of that movie. I was very happy to be wrong. I'm not 4K equipped, but the remastered 2023 Blu-ray alone was worth the cost of the upgrade. Maybe something else will come along sooner or later as a surprise too.
 
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cineMANIAC

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Disney is only interested in money! If they can make a fat profit on it, I'm sure there will be. They're not interested in breaking even. I think Disney has made it clear they're more interested in streaming now than physical media because that's where the money is!

By now it is widely known that the streaming revolution hasn't been as plentiful as decision makers had hoped. It'll be YEARS before anyone sees any profit, let alone discernible revenue from streaming. Still, Disney really is only interested in money - BIG money - as are all studios (or businesses for that matter) and licensing their library will only bring in miniscule revenue - a drop in the bucket for them. It's not worth it to them.

The SONY partnership has yet to get its gears rolling other than The First Omen, which hasn't been released yet. Everyone is adamant that this is a pointless partnership as it will only mimic Disney's relationship with Mill Creek as mere distributors of whatever Disney has lying around as far as masters. Initially I was excited for the possibilities but after people kept shutting down speculation I now side with the naysayers. There not being any activity or further developments revealed thus far doesn't help sway me back to the side worth getting excited for.

The Disney+ shows popping up on physical media was a good sign that the studio had changed their minds but now, with the lack of activity, I'm not sure.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I think this current period of relative inactivity is to be expected - Disney isn’t going to be announcing anything major or new with their home video department due to be shuttered in the coming weeks, and Sony isn’t in a position to be able to announce anything until the deal officially begins.
 

cineMANIAC

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What does anyone make of this:

Walt Disney Studios distribution shifts from to Sony Home Entertainment via North American licensing deal
As of May 6, 2024 Walt Disney Studios titles (20th Century Studios, Disney, Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar) will be distributed through Sony Pictures Home Entertainment across North America.

Any active Disney product that you currently have on your shelves can be returned at the price you paid for it from Disney via YES beginning May 6th. It is worth noting that while this Disney product will be eligible to be returned until July 31, 2024, This licensing deal only applies to 738 Walt Disney SKUs which are available to order from Sony via YES. The remaining SKUs (approx. 900+) are no longer active or available to order which should create plenty of demand with consumers in the coming months.

This was posted on another forum. Anyone have an idea what this refers to?
 

Dick

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This business about returning product that is on our shelves sounds truly bizarre to me -- is someone trying to create greater demand for Disney titles by buying back and then hoarding product? Never heard of such a thing. Perhaps I am not understanding the gist of it?
 

Josh Steinberg

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That’s not a message being sent to general customers. That is a message from the distribution arm of Disney directed at retailers and retail distribution.

What they’re saying is, “We, Disney, are about to exit the physical media space, handing off our operation to Sony. Sony is going to reissue a large number of those titles with new SKUs after July. If you have unsold product on your store shelves from us that you’d like to return to us while we’re still in business, you have until July 31st to do so. After that, we won’t be in business anymore so any product you choose not to return by then will no longer be returnable. You might want to return the items to us that Sony has already committed to re-releasing so that you can stock the newer editions when they come out. There’s also a list of titles Sony isn’t immediately re-releasing, and you may find it valuable to keep those as their value/demand may increase when they go out of print.”
 

DanH1972

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Sony has to distribute what Disney wants them to distribute. If Sony Home Video says they think "Grosse Point Blank" would sell well on 4k Blu-ray, Disney can still say NO! GO POUND SAND!!!

They have no real say in what titles will end up on 4k physical medium or any other disc format.
 

Jake Lipson

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I think Josh is correct. I would really like to know what the 900 or so discs that Sony isn't immediately re-releasing are. I probably have more discs from Disney than any other studio in the first place, but I certainly don't have everything they've ever put out. It would be nice to know if I need to prioritize getting anything in particular before Disney makes this transition.
 

Jake Lipson

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I am curious if any DMC titles get reissued.
I think the point of the reissues is for the titles to remain available at retail stores/sites without interruption. For example, if someone doesn't already have The Lion King in one of its editions that was distributed by Disney, they'll be able to buy The Lion King distributed by Sony. (I'm just picking that title at random, but it seems like something that would continue to be available.) The DMC titles were not designated to be available as general releases in the first place. So I'd be surprised if they are suddenly a priority for Sony to get into stores.
 
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Josh Steinberg

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From my understanding of what’s been reported on this new arrangement, part of the impetus for Disney seeking a deal with Sony is an acknowledgment that Disney’s own internal process for selecting what did and did not get released had gotten so convoluted, with so many layers of executive and interdepartmental approval required for what used to be the decision of one or two people, that bureaucracy and inertia stifled the home video department’s autonomy and they couldn’t function in any kind of practical sense. They realized this was not working for them and that they were missing marketplace opportunities. As part of working with Sony on this endeavor, Disney has reportedly agreed to give Sony more autonomy in making selections than Disney was allowing their own department to have.

While I don’t think this will mean that Sony will seek to release or re-release every obscure or poor selling title that Disney has ever made, I don’t think this means that they’ll only be doing the billion dollar hits either. It could very well mean something like, the Freaky Friday remake sequel is coming out, so they’ll offer the option of a combo set when handling home video for the title. It could mean keeping track of anniversary years and making sure to celebrate high profile titles with 4K releases when appropriate. It will almost certainly not mean releasing titles that Disney has long preferred not to release.

I would expect 4K releases of their most popular animated films to continue, as the remastering for many of those titles is already complete. I would expect more releases than are currently being output, but less than what the most ardent physical media supporters daydream about.
 

Robert Crawford

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I think many of you are going to be disappointed with this new business arrangement between Disney and Sony. By the way, the first wave of Disney movies being released on Blu-ray via Sony are coming out on July 1st. The Amazon preorders seem to be more recent titles. However, I did see Tombstone is getting another release on July 1st.
 

Ronald Epstein

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From my understanding of what’s been reported on this new arrangement, part of the impetus for Disney seeking a deal with Sony is an acknowledgment that Disney’s own internal process for selecting what did and did not get released had gotten so convoluted, with so many layers of executive and interdepartmental approval required for what used to be the decision of one or two people, that bureaucracy and inertia stifled the home video department’s autonomy and they couldn’t function in any kind of practical sense. They realized this was not working for them and that they were missing marketplace opportunities. As part of working with Sony on this endeavor, Disney has reportedly agreed to give Sony more autonomy in making selections than Disney was allowing their own department to have.

Are we of a similar opinion that this does not mean Sony and Disney will open the Fox vault?

I think this was a misconception when the deal with Sony was announced.
 

Ethan Riley

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Are we of a similar opinion that this does not mean Sony and Disney will open the Fox vault?

I think this was a misconception when the deal with Sony was announced.
It depends?? What is their business goal, overall? Does Sony employ a champion who wants to distribute catalog titles through this label, as does Warners? Do they care about the past, or do they see all media from the 20th century (the century, I mean, not the movie studio) as racist, misogynistic and problematic? Because I think that latter thought is what's kept loads of Fox titles from distribution (fears of racist elements from Shirley Temple movies for instance). Will Sony create something to rival Warner Archives or even Paramount Presents collection? Because that's what they should be doing and they have this almost infinite vault in which to play. Or is it just, "Oh look--Inside Out 2 made $300 million dollars, let's do a 4k. We'll make another $50 million." Or do they want to do something special that would not generate millions of dollars but that should be done anyway.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Are we of a similar opinion that this does not mean Sony and Disney will open the Fox vault?

I think this was a misconception when the deal with Sony was announced.

I would guess this means Sony will have access to release everything Disney owns, inclusive of the Fox holdings, but I don’t think we should expect thousands of previously unreleased titles to suddenly appear the day after Sony takes over.

I think one thing that some people here forget or don’t realize is that way back in 2016, Fox’s home video exec Mr. Finn was a regular here and he stated it was Fox’s intention to bring a large amount of catalog titles to 4K UHD disc if - if - their initial slate of titles sold to the degree that enthusiasts on websites like ours were saying they would buy. And then they put out their first round of titles, and clearly the sales numbers came in below expectations because that well dried up very quickly. And that was three years before Disney bought Fox. I know it’s convenient to blame Disney for everything wrong in home video, but I think the reality is that they more or less accepted Fox’s conclusion that the marketplace wasn’t there.

As has been reported, Disney knows that there’s room in today’s market with lower sales expectations than a decade ago to do more than they’re doing, and they know that their internal procedures with multiple departments having to sign off on every single decision were making it too difficult to do anything, so if the reporting is correct, Sony isn’t being brought on just to rubber stamp what Disney says to release but to help curate and advise and make decisions based on what Sony believes can be exploited in today’s market. So I think we will see more things than we’ve gotten in the past couple years, but I also think (as always) it’s gonna depend on whether people actually show up and buy stuff.
 

Ronald Epstein

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I think one thing that some people here forget or don’t realize is that way back in 2016, Fox’s home video exec Mr. Finn was a regular here and he stated it was Fox’s intention to bring a large amount of catalog titles to 4K UHD disc if - if - their initial slate of titles sold to the degree that enthusiasts on websites like ours were saying they would buy. And then they put out their first round of titles, and clearly the sales numbers came in below expectations because that well dried up very quickly. And that was three years before Disney bought Fox. I know it’s convenient to blame Disney for everything wrong in home video, but I think the reality is that they more or less accepted Fox’s conclusion that the marketplace wasn’t there.

James Finn is a great guy. So was Peter Staddon, before him. I miss them both.

They knew their product. They were very personable and embraced our forum and its feedback.

I clearly remember how disappointing 4k sales were for Fox before their takeover from Disney.

And you can't blame either studio. If 4k and Blu-ray were making a profit for the studio, there would be no reason for putting the brakes on physical media releases.

I just wonder what is different about Disney/Fox than all the other studios who continue to fill the market with new and catalog releases. I can only assume that Disney put all its hopes and money into their streaming service.
 

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