Disney To Call Time on 4K UHD, Blu-ray & DVD In Australia?

Disney Ends Sales Of DVD, Blu-ray

Recently it was reported by various news outlets such as, 7News and Mail Online, that Disney are to stop selling DVDs and Blu-rays in Australia. Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 is said to be the last physical release in the country.

There’s little doubt overall sales in Blu-ray and DVDs are down year on year. Yet 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray offer an unparalleled viewing experience that streaming services simply can’t come close to matching anytime soon.

Phasing out DVD and pushing those movie enthusiasts towards 4K Ultra HD or Blu-ray would seem a better way to go. That said sales of physical media in Australia are said to be very low, but without accurate figures it’s hard to know.

With news that Disney’s streaming platform is far from healthy and film flops such as, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, they seem intent on doubling down on streaming at the expense of everything else.

Let’s be honest, the real reason for the company’s woes is the terrible TV shows and movies. This is the fault of management, showrunners and writers. How could you mess up Star Wars, it should be a licence to print money!

The fact that the company has ruined such a lucrative franchise boggles the mind. Failure of the new Star Wars movies led to the closure of the Star Wars themed hotel, the Galactic Starcruiser little over a year after its opening.

Another factor as to why they find themselves in a somewhat poor position, is the over saturation of the superhero genre in both film and television. In fact most of the movies simply fail to deliver what’s expected at the box office, with only a few worthwhile offerings, as audiences grow tired.

What they should be focusing on is a reduction the amount superhero movies released each year along with more focus on great storytelling and film-making in the ones they do release.

If you look at the time and effort Christopher Nolan put into each of his Batman films and compare them to Marvel’s conveyor belt of titles, it’s easy to see why most of the movies feel like you seen them all before. Poorly written, directed and acted in most cases.

Disney needs to go back to basics by making the movies the audience wants. People want to be entertained, not preached to. Give them escapism and fun and the audience, whether at the cinema, on a streaming platform or on good old physical media such 4K Blu-ray, will part with their hard earned money.

Speaking of giving audiences what they want, three films that have done just that are, Barbie which has taken nearly $824 million worldwide at the time of writing, Oppenheimer $425 million and Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One, $452 million.

Benefits of Owning 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray

All of which brings me back to the decision to stop physical media sales in Australia. There’s a lot of enthusiasts that love to collect their favourite films, this should not be confused with the more casual viewer whom is happy to flick through a streaming service, watch a film once and never return to it again.

It really is a case knowing your customers and what they want. Not everyone is fan of NOT owning their favourite movies!

Here are just a few reasons why owning 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray copies of your favourite movies is worth it:

  • Superior Picture and Sound Quality: 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray offer unparalleled video and audio quality, providing a truly immersive cinematic experience.
  • Bonus Features: Physical media often comes loaded with bonus content such as behind-the-scenes documentaries, director’s commentaries and deleted scenes giving you an in-depth look at the film-making process.
  • Collectability: For movie enthusiasts and collectors, there’s a special joy in building a library of movies, whether it’s the special editions / collector editions or steelbook offerings.

Next on my list or reasons to continue with Blu-ray releases is the restoration of classic movies. There’s little doubt Blu-ray has been a huge driver in getting many older films fully restored and sold on physical formats.

If we go to a streaming only way of watching our entertainment will this still happen? I’m not sure that it will.

Will Other Film Studios Follow Disney’s Lead?

Well if you take a look at the likes of Warner Bros, Paramount and smaller labels such Arrow Video, you will see a packed line-up of upcoming 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray releases throughout 2023. Many of which are classic films, that have undergone restorations.

Need some examples? Let’s take a quick look…

August 2023 Releases

  • Bloodsport (1988) – 4K UHD & Blu-ray (Jean-Claude Van Damme)
  • Buster Keaton: Three Ages Special Edition – Blu-ray
  • Enter the Dragon (1973) 50th Anniversary – 4K UHD (Bruce Lee)
  • Roman Holiday (1953) – 4K UHD + Blu-ray
  • The Bionic Woman The Complete Collection – Blu-ray (Lindsay Wagner)
  • The Six Million Dollar Man Complete Collection – Blu-ray (Lee Majors)
  • Weird Science (1985) Limited Edition – 4K UHD (Kelly LeBrock)
  • Time Bandits (1981) – 4K UHD (John Cleese)

September 2023 Releases

  • Blackhat (2015) – 4K UHD / Blu-ray (Michael Mann)
  • Carlito’s Way (1993) Limited Edition – 4K UHD + Blu-ray (Al Pacino)
  • Crimes of the Future (2022) – 4K UHD / Bluray (David Cronenberg)
  • Fast X (2023) – 4K UHD / Blu-ray (Vin Diesel)
  • Following (1998) LE – Blu-ray (Christopher Nolan)
  • Gothic (1986) – Blu-ray (Gabriel Byrne / Julian Sands)
  • Gregory’s Girl (1980) – 4K UHD / Blu-ray (John Gordon Sinclair)
  • It Follows (2014) LE – 4K UHD / Blu-ray (Horror)
  • Jaws (1975) – 4K Ultra HD (Steven Spielberg)
  • Scream And Scream Again (1970) – Blu-ray (Price/Lee/Cushing)
  • Sleepy Hollow (1999) – 4K UHD + Bluray (Tim Burton)
  • Smile (2022) Steelbook – 4K UHD + Blu-ray (Horror)
  • Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse – 4K UHD / Blu-ray
  • The Antichrist (1974) – Blu-ray (Horror By Alberto De Martino)
  • The Psycho Collection (1-4) Limited Edition – 4K UHD / Blu-ray
  • The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – 4K Ultra HD
  • The Ship That Died of Shame (1955) – Blu-ray (Richard Attenborough)
  • The Wicker Man 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition – 4K UHD
  • Touch Of Evil (1958) LE – 4K UHD (Charlton Heston/Orson Welles)
  • Trumptonshire: Complete Collection – Blu-ray (Camberwick Green/Trumpton/Chigley)
  • Universal Noir #2 Limited Edition Boxset – Blu-ray
  • Valley Girl (1983) – Blu-ray (Nicolas Cage / Deborah Foreman)

As you can see there’s lots of great releases to look forward to on physical media in 2023.

Network Distributing Limited Ceases Trading

Whilst there’s plenty to be upbeat about, one bit of sad news worth mentioning here is the end of Network Distributing Limited which went out of business in June 2023.

They were responsible for bringing many classic British TV series to both DVD and Blu-ray. In fact Network carried out restorations on TV series such as Hammer House of Horror, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Randall And Hopkirk (Deceased), The Adventures of Black Beauty, The Goodies: The Complete BBC Collection, The Sweeney (Never Completed).

They also released so many TV series on DVD that it’s hard to list them all here. In fact just before Network went bust they managed to re-release a fair junk of them into retail, meaning they should be purchasable for a while longer.

Empire Cinemas In Trouble

Other bad news for the movie industry came at the beginning of July when the Empire Cinema chain in the UK entered administration. They immediately closed six cinemas, resulting in the loss of 150 jobs.

What Do You Think?

Hopefully the ending of physical media by Disney in Australia will not spread to other parts of the world anytime soon. There’s still good interest in markets such as the UK, Europe and America. They also have much larger populations, so fingers crossed we can enjoy our films on discs for a few more years.

Do you still buy films on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray or DVD? Are you bothered about classic movies receiving full restorations?

Which of the streaming platforms do you current use?

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What Do You Think?