Disney Continues Desperately Pushing Blu-Ray
April 3, 2009

First, Disney decided that they would only provide Blu-ray copies to reviewers, because that’s all they wanted talked about.

Then, they released the Blu-ray version of Bolt two days early, to goose sales figures.

I guess two days wasn’t enough to stack the deck, though, because Disney has just announced that Snow White will be available on Blu-ray almost two months before the standard DVD two-disc edition. That’s right, you can buy Blu-ray October 6 (at a list price of $39.99), while us peons who don’t want to go along with their upgrade plan have to wait until November 24 to pay $29.99. That’s seven weeks later.

I don’t think a two-month delay will be enough to convince people to shell out a few hundred dollars for a Blu-ray player in this economy, but it’s weird to see companies pushing towards a hardcover/paperback metaphor. I also can’t help thinking that if the format was more successful, they wouldn’t feel the need to play these kinds of games with customers.

10 Responses  
Thom writes:  

I am not sure it is a success or failure thing for a format that is so new. I think it’s a case of trying to get to where DVD was faster. DVD went through this. I worked at Best Buy when DVD first hit the market. Even after it beat Div-X (the Circuit City backed competition) people were predicting it’s demise. While the difference between DVD and Blu-Ray is less pronounced (though I would say in some ways-like picture quality-quite similar) which is probably slowing some of it’s growth, but I think the studio is trying to speed up a possible success, rather than being scare of it’s impending demise.

Adam writes:  

I think you’re forgetting that Bolt was sandwiched between Twilight (Friday) and Quantum of Solace (Tuesday). They just picked a stupid time to try their Bolt BD release date stunt as anyone that was going to buy anything that weekend was already picking up Twilight, and Wal-Mart seems to have realized this as they broke Bolt’s release date and were selling both the DVD and Blu-Ray as early as Saturday in most markets (along with the Lilo & Stitch 2-Disc).

But yeah, I love Blu-Ray to death, but Bolt was just not the movie to try this stunt with. I mean, it wasn’t Kung-Fu Panda, and it sure as heck wasn’t Wall-E.

As for releasing Snow White two months early… that’s freaking awesome! Sleeping Beauty and Pinocchio have both been absolutely jaw-dropping on Blu-Ray, so I expect nothing less from Snow White. It’s not my favorite Disney movie in any way (it’s like an hour Silly Symphony with bookends), but if it’s the release that we have to make it through in order to get Fantasia 2000 and Beauty & The Beast on Blu-Ray, then bring it on.

James Schee writes:  

Interesting moves on Disney’s part. A question I’ve always had though. Are these re-releases really that successful?

I’m guessing so since Disney does so many of them, but it strikes me as odd. Is there anything inherently better about this DVD release of Snow White, over the one from a few years back?

I can see why they’d release Blue Ray versions, new format and such. I doubt it in itself is going to make anyone rush out to buy a Blue Ray player.

I’m personally waiting for Blue Ray recorders before I really look into it. Though who knows by then, there might be something even better. (I tend to do my upgrades two steps at a time)

Johanna writes:  

I haven’t seen a list of special features, so I don’t know how much of an improvement this one is. Some of the Disney re-releases, yes, they do add more features.

Alan Coil writes:  

I have not seen Blu-Ray, so I can’t comment on its quality, but I think most of us are getting pretty darned tired of all the “New and Improved” gadgets forced on us every 6 months. I have many movies on vhs, several on dvd, and don’t want to have to buy another device to play the “New and Improved” movies. Where am I supposed to find the money?

Roger Benningfield writes:  

Johanna: A quick glance at Amazon shows that Samsung and Sylvania have Blu-ray players for under $189 and $169, respectively. Given that I paid $599 for my first DVD player, that’s looking pretty good.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m sympathetic to some folks who are clinging to DVD. If you’re still rocking a 27″ SDTV, there’s only so good things are going to look, no matter the source. And no one wants to re-buy everything like we did in the VHS-to-DVD transition.

The problem right now is consumer confusion. There are lots of people who think that buying a plasma or LCD gets them “HD”… they don’t grok that the source material has to be HD as well. And the cable/sat people muddy the waters even more, by running stuff like TNT-HD where half the network’s content is just stretched SD.

Until someone figures out how to HD-educate the country, people like Disney are going to keep trying gimmicks to give Blu-ray some extra prominence.

Sarah writes:  

I have pretty good job security, but I cannot convince myself I should spend $175 or so on a gadget that does exactly what an existing gadget does, just a little better. That’s wasteful no matter what the economy. Especially since so far companies seem to be charging more for Blu-ray discs than for DVDs, so it’s not merely a question of spending the once to get the player.

(I have a 31″ flatscreen. Yes, the HD content does look better. Regular content still looks fine enough.)

Richard J. Marcej writes:  

” And no one wants to re-buy everything like we did in the VHS-to-DVD transition.”

Unlike that transition though, there’s isn’t that much of a difference between DVD and Blu-ray to get me (at least) to shell out money and buy a new player and format that I don’t really need.

The VHS format didn’t have (nor could they) all the extra abilities that DVD brought home viewing. With VHS you couldn’t:
• view commentaries.
• easily select different scenes and starting points to watch the film.
• you were hamstrung by VHS’s inability to offer more than 2, maybe 3 hours of viewing.
• if any extras or out takes were included you had to fast forward to the end of the film to watch them.

Add the smaller size packages and portability that DVD brought over VHS, the difference between both were huge.

neo writes:  

When the studios want to shift people from one format to another, this will happen more frequently.

Here’s a blast from the past:

that should explain why Disney is trying the same tricks they pulled to put DVD over VHS.

Back to the Future 25th Anniversary Trilogy Due October 26 » DVDs Worth Watching writes:  

[…] know I was annoyed by Blu-ray for a while, but I think we picked just the right time to jump, since lots of our favorites are […]


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