Sony Takes Over Disney Department, Movie Club Shut Down

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

  • Sony Pictures is taking over Disney’s physical media production.
  • Sony and Disney have worked together in the past with handling Spider-Man.
  • Sony is stepping in as Disney is trying to streamline their business.
  • The first casualty of Sony’s new position is the loss of Disney’s Movie Club.

Disney and Sony have recently finalized a deal that sees Sony Pictures Home Entertainment assuming control over all of Disney’s physical media production endeavors. This shift in the home movie department also means that Disney Movie Club will be shutting down. It’s a devastating blow for fans who were used to the House of Mouse sending them copies of Disney classics every month.

Sony To The Rescue

Reports from trusted sources within the industry confirm that Sony will now spearhead the authoring, compression, replication, and packaging of Disney’s physical media, along with overseeing distribution channels and retail outlets. The move comes as Disney seeks to streamline its operations and optimize efficiency in its physical media division, which has faced internal challenges and restructuring in recent times.

Disney’s Physical Media Has Been Struggling

For years, Disney’s physical media arm has grappled with organizational complexities and budgetary constraints, exacerbated by the shifting focus towards digital and streaming platforms like Disney+. According to inside sources, simple decisions are not uncommon when sent up the corporate ladder, causing long delays and costing the company lots of money. On the other hand, Sony has a proven track record of cost-effective and efficient production processes, making it a wise financial move for Disney to pass the home video responsibility on to their long-time affiliate.

Faster Turnaround Times?

By leveraging Sony’s expertise and infrastructure, Disney aims to ensure a more seamless and sustainable approach to releasing its extensive catalog of films and TV shows on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD formats.

The End Of Disney Movie Club

However, Sony’s acquisition of Disney’s home video department means that Disney Movie Club, a cherished institution for film enthusiasts and collectors, is set to shutter its operations after 23 years of service. According to an email Disney is sending to movie club members, the last day to order physical media from the Movie Club is May 20, 2024.

The End Of The Disney Vault?

rolly crump disney

But there is a glimmer of hope for cinephiles. Sony’s acquisition of Disney’s home video department will likely save the House of Mouse a lot of money, which means the company may finally do something with the expansive lockbox of movies that have been sitting in virtual storage collecting dust.

Classic Re-Releases

Long before the Sony deal, Disney possessed an extensive vault brimming with cherished live-action film titles hailing from the classic Disney, 20th Century (Fox), Hollywood Pictures, and Touchstone libraries. Surprisingly, among these treasures are at least twenty classic Fox catalog titles that have undergone recent 4K remastering, yet Disney has yet to take any action with them. These titles remain absent from streaming or digital platforms, they’re not part of the Disney+ catalog, and they haven’t seen release on Blu-ray or physical 4K Ultra HD discs.

More Companies Abandoning Physical Media

This comes at a time when numerous major studios are delving deep into their film libraries, issuing Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD releases. Moreover, these studios are licensing many of their beloved catalog titles to boutique labels that have managed to sell physical media copies at lucrative rates, even amidst rising production costs and narrowing options among vendors and retailers. By partnering with Sony, Disney may start to release some of the titles they’ve kept locked away.

The First Movie From Sony

The first movie Sony will oversee for Disney is The First Omen (20th Century Studios). The film is slated to debut in theaters on April 5, 2024. Exact digital and physical street dates are yet to be determined.

Source: The Digital Bits