DATELINE -- Wednesday, 18 August 1999
Diz on Disc: Rumors have been swirling for months that one or two classic Disney animation titles would be released on DVD before the end of the year, but nobody predicted the windfall announced yesterday by The Mouse: No less than nine animated titles will arrive in the coming months, some in a limited-release window and some for good. Here's the rundown:
- Pinocchio (Oct. 26.)
- 101 Dalmatians (Nov. 11)
- Hercules (Nov. 11)
- Mulan (Nov. 11)
- Lady and the Tramp (Nov. 23)
- Peter Pan (Nov. 23)
- The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (Nov. 23)
- The Jungle Book (Dec. 7)
- The Little Mermaid (Dec. 7)
Disney has also announced that future animated films will be released on DVD day-and-date with VHS editions. And we aren't complaining, even though some of these titles will only be available for a scant two months and then placed on moratorium for as long as ten years, much like Disney VHS releases have been since they were first introduced in 1985 (Pinocchio was the first animated sell-through VHS release, by the way). The Mouse has yet to say which of the above titles will become prized collector's items, but if we were betting folks we'd wager that the films made before 1980 (Pinocchio, 101 Dalmatians, Lady and the Tramp, Peter Pan, The Jungle Book) are the ones due for a deep-sixing.
It's good news for DVD, and yet we can already hear some bitchin' and whinin' from DVD fans on the horizon. Most of these are bonafide Disney classics, but some of the most cherished Disney titles (i.e., Sleeping Beauty, Fantasia, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bambi, Alice in Wonderland, Dumbo, et. al.) are notably absent from the list, and most people can probably find a childhood favorite among the films still Missing in Action. Furthermore, since some of the announced titles will return to Missing in Action status by early 2000, we're guessing that those could become the highest-priced DVD items on eBay not long thereafter, perhaps in time even eclipsing the $200 or more that the out-of-print Little Shop of Horrors currently fetches. But at least those of you willing to spend the bucks will be able to get them.
(Editor's Note: After this article was published, Disney announced that all nine animated titles will be withdrawn after 60 days in release.)
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