Mouse House: Upcoming Blu-ray Titles from Disney To Be Released

By • April 2, 2012 • 2 Comments

It seems like these days the possibilities are endless in how film fans can enjoy their favorites at home, from renting through Netflix to downloading online via Amazon. but perhaps the most rewarding format – well, for this old-fashioned guy, at least – is to purchase the movie on Blu-ray. while many major studios – including Disney – have generally decreased the amount of bonus features and other special content offered on home video, this company consistently delivers an overall strong value to their Blu-ray releases. In this edition of the Mouse House, I’ll as share some thoughts on yet-to-be-released Blu-ray offerings.

Coming Soon (Announced)

Recently Disney announced over 30 titles from their library – some of them classics, others surprisingly forgettable – to be released on Blu-ray for the first time this year. many also hold the title of “anniversary” editions, celebrating 10, 15, 20 years or more since their original debuts.

On the Disney side, get ready for some beloved treasures and even critically-tarnished duds to shine in high-definition. Arriving on the coat-tails of the Broadway adaptation, the 20th anniversary edition of Newsies, starring a young Christian Bale, comes to Blu-ray on June 19. The Santa Clause trilogy – including the more panned third film – debuts as a pack in late 2012 to coincide with the holiday season. Animated films Treasure Planet and Home on the Range will be released on July 3, while The Tigger Movie, Pete’s Dragon, Ghosts of the Abyss 3D and Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure (to follow the release of this February’s Lady and the Tramp) will hit shelves this fall. Also plan on seeing a mixed bag of releases, like Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Babes in Toyland, Brother Bear, Hocus Pocus, The Absent-Minded Professor, Son of Flubber and 1997 update Flubber to come out in late 2012. Up will also debut in Blu-ray 3-D on May 1.

Steve Martin’s contributions to the Disney family, including the Father of the Bride films, will hit shelves on May 15 in a two-movie collection. Other pairs of movies – the first film and its sequel – will also be released in similar two-packs, including the Pocahontas movies (summer 2012), Whoopi Goldberg vehicles’ Sister Act and its sequel (June 15), The Princess Diaries movies (May 15) and The Rescuers films (TBD).

Tom Cruise starred in a few Touchstone films in the late 1980’s, including The Color of Money and Cocktail, both of which will hit Blu-ray on June 5. Other popular films from Disney’s more adult label to arrive on Blu-ray are Ransom (June 5), The Horse Whisperer (July 3), Ed Wood (fall 2012), Dick Tracy (late 2012) and While You Were Sleeping (late 2012). some of the more unexpected, lesser-regarded releases from Touchstone, like Bringing down the House (May 15), Judge Dredd (fall 2012), Cold Creek Manor (late 2012) and Arachnophobia (late 2012) will also make their Blu-ray debuts. The other Touchstone titles to arrive on Blu-ray are Evita (June 19), Phenomenon, Step up and Under the Tuscan Sun on July 3, Adventures in Babysitting, Grosse Pointe Blank, High Fidelity and Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion in fall 2012, and Beaches, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and Sweet Home Alabama in late 2012.

I find it shocking that a bunch of these are hitting Blu-ray, for a variety of reasons. For one, Step up is a franchise Touchstone is no longer distributing – Summit Entertainment will be releasing the fourth film later this summer – so why is the original coming out through the Mouse House? perhaps the recent stardom of Channing Tatum is a reason, or maybe they are hoping that movie-goers who want to check out this new film will want to revisit the first one, and thus the company could make some money off of that by default. Similarly, I think many of these would not come out had these not coincide with special anniversaries. really, who would have expected such financial disasters like Cold Creek Manor or Treasure Planet to make Blu-ray, had these not turned around a decade this year? In Manor’s case, it’s nine-years-old, but still being released as a tenth-anniversary edition.

I am quite glad that Disney is revisiting its Touchstone films, a label they are now just using as a form to distribute DreamWorks’ movies, and have to wonder if this is perhaps a move toward going back to making specifically-Touchstone releases. Maybe I’m just hopeful, though. some of the random releases are quite laughable, notably the unremarkable Home on the Range. In any case, way to go, Disney, for embracing – well, at least recognizing – such favorites like Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Hocus Pocus and While You Were Sleeping.

It will be interesting to see which of these 30+ releases will perform well, and even more so, which will feature more than just the movie and re-usage of DVD bonus features. I am guessing that the more random choices, such as The Tigger Movie, will be just basic, bland releases. Count on most of these, at least the animated choices, to look quite stunning in high-definition.

Predictions for future releases

There were some films that did not make this list, though. everyone knows the long-delayed Blu-ray of Finding Nemo will hit theatres in 3D this coming September, and it’s likely that the home video version will make both Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D in early November. That is the typical release date window of both new Pixar releases, like Brave for this year, and also old favorites. of course, you can plan on most of Disney’s 2012 film releases to hit Blu-ray before the end of the year, though Frankenweenie and Wreck-It Ralph would not debut until early 2013.

There are some wonderful films in the Disney catalogue that have yet to make Blu-ray. among that mix is one of my “most wanted,” The Hunchback of Notre Dame. it would have made sense to have released that last year for its fifteenth anniversary, but alas, that never occurred. it seems like the animated films of the late 1990s have yet to gain notice by the home video division, although there could be some reasons for that. I think it would be safe to plan on Mulan and its direct-to-video sequel to come out on Blu-ray in 2013 during the Chinese New Year, also tying into the year of the original’s fifteenth anniversary. it should also be about time for Hercules and Tarzan to hit back into the market, but Disney could be spreading those out over the next few years.

With the recent popularity of The Muppets, perhaps Disney-owned The Muppets Christmas Carol and Muppets Treasure Island could make Blu-ray? I think that with the release of May 2013’s The Lone Ranger in theatres, possibly some Western-related titles could make Blu-ray. Do people want to see Shanghai Noon or The Alamo on Blu-ray, though? I’m sure there is some demand, just not huge. I think Mary Poppins will make Blu-ray in time, but Disney could be waiting until late 2013 or 2014 to correspond with the classic’s fiftieth anniversary. Cinderella and Aladdin will come out as part of Disney’s “Diamond Edition” series in fall 2012 and spring 2013, respectively. I think The little Mermaid will follow suit in fall 2013, following its theatrical re-release in 3D in September 2013.

Certainly, the future Disney Blu-rays will be released over a long period, but let us hope that these all possess the same image and sound quality – as well as a handful of neat extras – in a reasonable fashion. I know I don’t want to wait until the end of the decade to finally see the Homeward Bound films in their Blu-ray glory, but that could just be me. what do you want to see on Blu-ray? Post your thoughts below.

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