Disney will stop releasing UHD Blu-rays with live-action content. The editor-in-chief of The Digital Bits reports this based on multiple sources. Disney has not yet confirmed or denied this rumor.
Bill Hunt, a media analyst well versed in the audiovisual industry, reports that he recently learned from retail and industry sources that Disney has made an internal decision to stop releasing live-action content as an uhd blu-ray format. That information has been confirmed by multiple other reliable sources, Hunt reports.
Animated content from Disney and Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel titles and current new cinema films will still be released on the uhd blu-ray format. Otherwise, titles from the Disney catalog will not be available in this format. It is therefore also about films from the stable of 20th Century Studios; this film company was acquired by Disney last year.
According to Hunt, Home Alone and Hocus Pocus will release uhd blu-ray next month, but the plan to re-release movies from Disney’s catalog in the physical 4k format would take place after that. An exception would still be made for the existing Avatar and new Avatar movies. Whether such exceptions are also made for other titles by director James Cameron, such as The Abyss and True Lies, is not clear. The film Alien was previously released on uhd blu-ray.
Hunt writes that the consequences of the corona pandemic may have contributed in part to Disney’s decision, but he says other things also play a role, such as Disney’s ambition to further expand its Disney + streaming service. Also, there would be a lack of appreciation among senior executives from Disney and 20th Century Studios towards older live-action films from the studios. Hunt also calls the decision unsurprising, because while Disney has been active in releasing animated movies and Star Wars and Marvel movies on 4k discs, the company made little effort to promote them.
According to Hunt, the recent is hefty sales decline of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment due in part to the fact that the company does not have a real physical media plan for the home consumer. He substantiates this by, among other things, pointing out the fact that competing companies have recently shown significant turnover increases, which applies to Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, Paramount Home Entertainment and Lionsgate Home Entertainment.
Whether this alleged Disney decision also applies to regular Blu-ray discs is not clear. Disney may eventually decide to license the rights to publish UHD Blu-rays containing films from the Disney catalog to individual studios. Rumors are circulating about this, but Hunt dismisses it as wishful thinking.