Disney Continues War To Kill Physical Media, Won’t Release Acclaimed Films

By Douglas Helm | Published

Digital downloads of video games, movies, and music are convenient and a nice option to have. However, physical media allows you to truly own your favorite movies and some companies are ditching physical releases for some of their films altogether. Disney has been especially guilty of this trend in recent years, as evidenced by its decision to forego a physical release for All of Us Strangers.

Disney Refuses To Release Searchlight Movies

Disney has gobbled up quite a few major companies in recent years, not the least of which is its purchase of 20th Century Fox. When the House of Mouse purchased Fox, it also obtained smaller indie studios like Searchlight. Searchlight’s All of Us Strangers was a critical hit this year, and now it seems like fans of the film will have to settle for digital rather than physical media if they want to own it.

Barbarian Is Streaming Only

This wouldn’t be the first time that Disney has opted to leave physical media by the wayside. Searchlight’s indie horror hit Barbarian also has yet to see a physical release. It might make sense if films like Barbarian and All of Us Strangers were duds, but both films were critical darlings, so there would undoubtedly be people ready to buy.

Best Buy Is Removing Physical Media

On top of Disney’s decision to cut down on physical releases for some of its indie hits, Best Buy also recently announced that physical media would be removed from its stores. Best Buy is one of the few big box stores where consumers could still browse Blu-rays, video games, and DVDs on shelves. While there are, of course, still small media businesses working hard to keep the spark alive, the Best Buy change does cut down on accessibility.

How Long Will Any Store Sell DVDs?

Also, the fact that big box stores like Best Buy are opting to leave physical media behind certainly takes away Disney’s incentive to release Blu-rays and DVDs. While the small businesses are undoubtedly cooler and more fun to browse, corporations like Disney aren’t going to want to do physical releases if the big money isn’t in play. There are still big box stores like Target and Walmart carrying physical releases, but Best Buy’s decision could signal an uncertain future for physical media.

Netflix Partnered With Criterion For Film Releases

Disney certainly isn’t the only guilty party here, as there are plenty of major movie companies that don’t push physical releases. Netflix is an especially prominent example, as many of its films will forever remain on the streaming services (if they don’t get eventually removed.) There are exceptions, like when Criterion works with Netflix to make physical releases for the streamer’s most critically acclaimed films, but there are surely some Netflix gems that will never be seen on Blu-ray shelves.

The Rare Exception


There may be some hope, however, as Disney has released physical media for some of its beloved hits. 20th Century Studios had a massive streaming hit on their hands in 2022 with the Predator franchise entry Prey, which eventually got a physical release. It seems likely that consumers will have to continue to speak with their dollars if we don’t want physical releases to go the way of the dinosaur.