Recent rumors suggest Disney has no plans to release live-action catalog titles on 4K physical media (4K Blu-ray) moving forward — instead focusing more on digital downloads and its streaming platforms. Before we get further into the details, it’s worth stating a few points from the outset:
- These are rumors.
- These rumors really only cover back-catalog movies within Disney’s vault, and that of 20th Century Fox, which the company acquired a while back.
- New releases, including Star Wars and Marvel movies as well as animated Disney and Pixar films, should still see physical media releases, at least according to these latest rumors.
With those established, let’s dive in further. The Digital Bits ran a post over the weekend mentioning the rumors, and has since followed up to say other sources have verified the claims. What these rumors essentially claim is that older movies under the Disney umbrella are unlikely to get physical 4K releases moving forward, outside of a handful of previously announced titles like Home Alone and Hocus Pocus, both of which are slated to arrive next month.
There are apparently some exceptions to these plans, however, including James Cameron’s Avatar and possibly several of his older films like True Lies and The Abyss.
From a business standpoint, it’s perhaps not surprising that Disney might choose to keep remastered and/or 4K versions of classic films on digital-only platforms, considering its rapidly growing streaming service presence. Still, as The Digital Bits points out, there are a great many films at stake here that wouldn’t work on Disney+, given that service’s family-friendly approach. There’s a chance they could find a home on Hulu, though.
From a consumer’s perspective, however, this could come as disappointing news (if these plans are officially confirmed). As a longtime fan of physical media, I’ve been slowly building a 4K Blu-ray library of movies. Those flicks are essentially “keepers” — films I like to rewatch from time to time. And I like the fact that I can do that whenever I want without needing to pay a monthly fee to a streaming service for access. (Plus, there’s also the general quality differences between 4K Blu-rays and streaming 4K video.)
Again, without official confirmation from Disney, it’s wise to take these rumors with a grain of salt. And it’s entirely possible Disney might revisit or reconsider this plan in the future. For now, though, any other physical media fans out there? If so, are there any classic movies you’re still hoping will get a 4K release? Let us know in the comments below!
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Philip has spent most of the past two decades as a journalist and photographer. Before joining the team at Cord Cutters News, he worked for Engadget and Reviews.com. Philip cut the cord years ago and hasn't looked back since.