Sunday, November 22, 2015

Platinum, Diamond, Then...: Disney's Next Big Home Media Line


In 2001, a few years into the era of DVD, Walt Disney Home Entertainment was already releasing various classics and live-action titles on the disc format. Their first stab at giving the animated classics releases was the "Limited Issue" series, which didn't last long.

Following that was the Walt Disney Gold Classic Collection in 2000, which was a mixture of hot-demand titles (like Pinocchio), not-so-demanded films, Pixar films, and live-action/animation hybrids. These editions came with some bonus features, unlike the disappointingly barebones "Limited Issue" releases. That same year, Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 were given deluxe, lavish treatment in the form of a box set...

In late 2001, a series would follow in that box set's footsteps: The Platinum Collection. The first-ever DVD release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would be the one to kick off the line, reappearing for the first time since going into the vault in spring 1995. It was a great set, with 2 discs jampacked with extras. The Platinum Collection would be home to the best-selling Disney animated classics, and almost all of these DVD releases moved lots and lots and lots of units.

The line ended in spring 2009 with Pinocchio, that following autumn it was given the Blu-ray reboot in the form of the Diamond Collection. Snow White's Blu-ray debut would be the release to kick it off, once again. Unfortunately, just a few years into the line's run, the company began to fumble with bonus features and other things. Some of these sets weren't the mighty, packed sets that the amazing Platinum Editions were.

The latest Diamond Edition, of course, is Aladdin. However, a lot of us were wondering if Pinocchio would arrive on Blu-ray in early 2016. It's the only title left that hasn't gotten the Diamond treatment, and the pattern is two films every year, one in February and the other in October. A Pinocchio Diamond Edition appears to be a no-go now, for Disney is relaunching the line...

It is now The Signature Collection!

No need to guess what film is kicking it off... Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It is currently up for pre-order, and this appears to be the official cover art...


I'm no fan of this cover, it looks very cut-and-paste, very hastily thrown together... But that logo, I really really like that. For context, here's what the Platinum DVD cover looked like...


And the Diamond Edition Blu-ray...


And the Diamond Edition DVD-only edition...


Quite a step down, I think...

Another question though, will this series cover post-Walt films that are in the Platinum/Diamond collection? Who knows. Back in the 1990s, when the Classics edition videocassette releases of the animated films used the heading "Walt Disney's Classic", post-Walt films used "A Walt Disney Classic". The same goes for the Masterpiece Collection that dominated the mid-to-late 1990s. By the time the Platinum line came into play, headings would either say "Walt Disney's" or "Walt Disney Pictures Presents".

Now it's just a plain, boring "Disney". I ranted about that before, though...

Anyways, with Snow White being the first, Pinocchio ought to be the second since its Diamond Edition is no more. Will Fantasia be the third? Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 were actually supposed to get the Diamond treatment in 2010, but that release was pulled and it instead a 70th Anniversary Edition... Though when you put it in a Blu-ray player that shows what you're about to watch (as opposed to a simple BD-ROM), it would say "Diamond Edition". It must've been a last-minute switch, must've happened when the discs were being mastered...

Also, will this series come to Ultra HD? That's the next physical media format, and Disney might have a certain attitude towards physical media, but who knows what will happen.

For now, I like the name and the logo, but not the packaging. What say you?

5 comments:

  1. I was actually more for reactivating the original Classics line but giving it an ascended fan name of "Black Diamond". The other thing is, this promo is only on Wal-Mart; no official announcement has been made, so if you want a different response, you can plug it.

    Also keep in mind that they have discontinued lines without warning and repackaged the material. They did that with the Masterpiece Collection and the Gold Classic Collection, and the latter was meant to run a lot longer than it did. Also, I just realized that I provided a list of "Black Diamond Classics" tiers on my blog, and the top one was "Black Diamond Signature Classic" This does seem more like it should be used for a "Walt Disney Treasures" series.

    Stay tuned and we'll see what happens.

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    1. this just went for pre-order at Disney Store with the same cover art today

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  2. Great article, Kyle! I'm excited for a new line of releases as I can finally pick up some classics that I'm missing. I guess they're going for a sort of minimalist design. I definitely preferred the look of the diamond edition, but perhaps the future releases will be more appealing. It's a shame that the Diamond collection is missing one of the most important films.

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  3. What is it with Disney skimping on bonus features on each new release of its Vault titles? Also, what is keeping them from porting over classic bonus features from old releases into newer re-releases?

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