Disney Denies Scaling Back 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc Releases

Following ongoing online scuttlebutt suggesting Walt Disney Studios planned to discontinue releasing catalog movies on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc, the company issued a statement denying the rumors.

“There are no plans to discontinue releases in a particular format,” a Disney spokesperson told Forbes in a statement. “We evaluate each release on a case by case basis and pursue the best strategy to bring our content into consumer homes across platforms that meet a variety of demands.”

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Disney released its first 4K Ultra HD title in 2017 with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Subsequent releases include titles from 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures. Pending 4K UHD releases include  Hocus Pocus and Home Alone on Sept. 15.

However, in recent months as the coronavirus pandemic has locked down theaters, a vital source of Disney revenue, the studio has turned its attention toward its Disney+ streaming service and downplayed its physical-media releases.

On Aug. 7, Bill Hunt, editor of The Digital Bits, wrote that Disney was not planning on releasing any future live-action catalog movies on 4K UHD Blu-ray, opting instead for 4K digital only.

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“I started to receive word from retail and industry sources that Disney had made an internal decision to suspend the 4K Ultra HD release of live-action catalog titles from both their own vaults and those of their newly acquired 20th Century Fox label,” Hunt wrote.  The longtime industry observer wrote that he checked with “multiple reliable” sources on the matter. “I have indeed been able to essentially confirm the rumor.”

According to Hunt, Disney’s would still be releasing 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays for new-release theatrical titles, animated movies from the Disney Animation and Pixar studios, and “Star Wars” and “Marvel” franchise content.

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