Disney Attacks Movie Theaters and Physical Media

Disney Attacks Movie Theaters and Physical Media

   Disney has just announced that starting now they will be putting all of their new content solely on their streaming platform, Disney+. This means that a lot of their new movies will not be shown in movie theaters. 

   The most recent case of this is the live action version of Mulan. The movie was not shown in theaters but rather put on Disney+ for $29.99. Additionally, the new Pixar movie Soul was originally going to be released in theaters on November 20th, 2020. However, just a few days ago, Disney made an announcement that said that the movie would be streaming on Disney+ on Christmas Day.

   “We are confident that Disney can build a [direct to consumer] business that will meaningfully exceed its current cable TV and box office revenue streams, but only if the company leans into this opportunity and invests more aggressively,” said Disney investor Dan Loeb (in the news publication, CFO).

   Now, the more controversial piece of news is that going forward, Disney will be killing off its back catalog of movies for physical media releases. While this means that Disney movies in the back catalog will not be getting 4K disc transfers, it also means that 20th Century Fox titles will not be receiving 4K UHD Blu-Ray releases. They most likely would be going in the Disney+ streaming catalog, similarly to how they handled the Star Wars 4K transfers. They were available first on the Disney+ streaming service and it took a few months to put the releases on a physical format.

   Jeff Raueso is better known as Films at Home on YouTube. He has 50K subscribers on YouTube and has been following this story for a few months. 

   “I think physical media will make a comeback as soon as streaming kicks up,” said Raueso. “Because people want quality. They’ll start to realize that streaming isn’t quality. No special features. No bonuses. Just a movie that you don’t own. Ownership is big. Streaming services are spreading out so far now that it’s hard to stay on top. People will buy their favorite movies and own them.”

   This means that great movies like Fight Club, The Sixth Sense, or Heat will never be released on 4K Blu-Ray. It also means that titles like The Village which never got a Blu-Ray release will most likely be stuck on DVD. Since Disney wants to cut out the middleman, if these movies ever get released, they will most likely be going on Disney+ where the 4K streaming quality is not that great. If they miraculously end up getting a 4K disc release, they will more than likely have you purchase it off of their online store. Home Alone and Hocus Pocus were probably the last back-catalog titles from Disney to get a physical 4K Blu-Ray release. The only releases that will make it to 4K, or even physical media at all, will probably be big, newly released titles like Marvel movies, Star Wars movies, and live action Disney movies. For example, Mulan is getting a 4K steelbook release.

     “We are tilting the scale pretty dramatically [toward streaming],” said Disney CEO Bob Chapek. “Given the incredible success of Disney+ and our plans to accelerate our direct-to-consumer business, we are strategically positioning our company to more effectively support our growth strategy and increase shareholder value,” (CNBC).

   Disney’s stock value went up 5% the following morning after they broke the news. 

A personal thank you goes out to Jeff Raueso from Films At Home for shining light on this issue and taking the time to speak with me on this. You can watch his video on this, or any of his other videos at https://www.youtube.com/c/FilmsAtHome/featured.