Saturday, January 26, 2013
More Diamond Confusion
Those who have gotten their hands on the upcoming Diamond Edition of Peter Pan have confirmed that the Spring 2014 Diamond Edition will be The Jungle Book. Oddly enough, the UK and most of Europe are getting both The Jungle Book and The Little Mermaid as Diamond Editions this autumn. Certainly some strange changes have been going on with Disney's home entertainment division, that's for sure.
Last year, we found out that titles such as Pinocchio and One Hundred and One Dalmatians were dropped from the Diamond line in various countries. Whatever the reason, be it sales or Disney's desire to quickly phase the line out, it came as a shock. The Platinum/Diamond collection consist of Disney's best-selling films, so sales might have to do with something. Not much is known, but it is strange nonetheless. Disney fans are certainly trying to make heads or tails of the situation.
So I have a question: What will be the Autumn 2014 Diamond Edition? Aladdin or One Hundred and One Dalmatians?
Disney only has four titles left to issue as Diamond Editions: Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians and Aladdin. Dalmatians and Aladdin have never been released on Blu-ray before. Pinocchio and Sleeping Beauty have, when the line was still the Platinum Edition collection. Both Blu-ray releases were excellent, so will they be re-issued as is but with the Diamond moniker? Maybe. Maybe not.
I have a feeling that Aladdin will be the fall 2014 title. Why? Well, Disney has proudly announced that a Broadway musical adaptation of the 1992 film is coming in spring 2014. With that, I and many others assumed that Aladdin would be released to coincide with the play. Well, now that The Jungle Book is confirmed for Spring 2014, then my best guess is that Aladdin will hit stores in autumn 2014. That would be ten years after its last home media release, the Platinum Edition DVD.
It would also be perfect because it could follow a 3D theatrical re-release.
Now I am well aware that Disney (wrongly) cancelled the 3D theatrical re-release of The Little Mermaid, which would precede its Blu-ray release this autumn. Now it's quietly being suggested that Disney didn't outright scrap the re-release, but instead they are going to release it another time. The Little Mermaid in 3D had some pretty tough 3D competition ahead of it. Family-friendly competition: The 3D re-release of Attack of the Clones and Sony Animation's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Now if Disney were smart, they'd give it an August release, maybe a few weeks after Planes. But there's the other frustrating thing; Disney gave that direct-to-video film a theatrical release. If Planes wasn't on track for an August 2013 release, I think Mermaid would've occupied that slot.
The Little Mermaid 3D, if released, would be very successful. It would possibly rival the gross that The Lion King 3D took in. Why? The Little Mermaid has been in the vault for a while; whereas Beauty and the Beast was readily available on home media when the 3D re-release came out. Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc. went out of print shortly before the re-releases, so there was probably no rush to see those two films in theaters. Plus, I think people wanted to see the classics on the big screen, not the Pixar films. That's not a jab at Pixar; I loved the 3D in Finding Nemo. But I think audiences wanted to see something like Mermaid or Aladdin or maybe something like Cinderella in theaters.
If anything, Disney should not be so quick to cancel the theatrical re-release. There's still an opportunity for them in an August 2013 release. It may be cut off of by Planes, but it'll have the first weeks of September all to itself. I'd personally prefer if Disney scrapped the theatrical release of Planes, but we know that's not going to happen. So it looks like Mermaid 3D is done for.
Disney could do that with Aladdin in September 2014, but since they scrapped Mermaid 3D, I have a feeling that they have lost faith in 3D rereleases.
So if Aladdin comes in fall 2014, that means we have to wait to spring 2015 for One Hundred and One Dalmatians. Or vice versa. The film is available in Europe on Blu-ray, and has been since this past autumn. It's no longer a Diamond title there, so it was given a release already, ditto Peter Pan. That's the only thing... I don't want to have to wait until 2015 for Dalmatians.
Disney probably wouldn't release two Diamonds at the same time here in the states, though they are apparently content with doing so in Europe. Again, The Jungle Book and The Little Mermaid debut on the format over there in the fall. After that, there are no more titles. Aladdin might not be in the Diamond line in Europe anymore. Australia, France, Germany and the United Arab Emirates get it in the spring as a stand-alone release. The UK must be getting it soon, too, I assume. They appear to have no spring 2013 Diamond Edition, but there's no signs showing that Aladdin is a Diamond over there.
Here's another theory: What if Disney all of a sudden just drops Aladdin from the Diamond collection here and releases it on Blu-ray this year? The demand is pretty damn high, and the film remains popular. It's always on ABC Family a lot for some reason, too. Also, if they give it a release sometime this year, it'll be a great way to promote the upcoming Broadway musical. That could really pay off. Just remove that damn Diamond label, keep the boatloads of bonus features, make a prestigious release and release it as a "Special Edition" of sorts. That way, Disney can plug the play while also satisfying those who really want the film on Blu-ray.
If they don't, we'll have to wait till 2015 for the last Diamond (that's not on Blu) to show up. If one title was dropped, Disney could finish the line ahead of schedule. Heck, they could even drop Dalmatians and give that a prestigious release while ending the line with The Jungle Book. Quicker too, because, will Blu-ray still be a choice format in 2015?