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Disney Announces Some 2008 Blu-ray Releases, Including Sleeping Beauty & Finding Nemo in Fall '08

Posted on Friday, August 17th, 2007 12:15 PM by Scott Jentsch

Walt Disney logoWalt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has just announced that they will be releasing four movies in 2008 on the Blu-ray high definition disc format, including their first Platinum Series title, "Sleeping Beauty."

While the fact that the announcement of four movies does not constitute a "title wave," as the title of their press release (included below) would hope to have us believe, the fact that they are opening their vault to release one of their classic animated titles is newsworthy all by itself.

Also notable from the release is the availability of the Disney-Pixar title "Finding Nemo" which should look and sound amazing! The DVD release was very good and is often used as demo material for the richness of the rendering of the fish and underwater environments. Our first Pixar-on-HD fix will come this November, when Disney is scheduled to release both "Cars" and "Ratatouille" on Blu-ray.

Along with what should be incredible visuals, Pixar movies are known for their great sound mixes, and Finding Nemo is no exception. Its DTS-ES / Dolby Digital EX soundtrack was nominated for an Oscar® for Best Sound Editing, so here's hoping that Disney gives us the full 6.1-channel soundtrack in lossless sound!

Both Sleeping Beauty and Finding Nemo are scheduled to be available in Fall of 2008.

The press release also lists "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" for a Spring 2008 release (most likely close to the May 16th release of "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian") and a Summer 2008 release for "National Treasure" which might be timed with the home video release of "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" which is opening in theaters this December.

National Treasure is mentioned as their first BD-Live title, which introduces a new level of functionality in the Blu-ray format, including Internet connectivity. The Sleeping Beauty Blu-ray disc will have a virtual castle and multi-player activities, both utilizing BD-Live. (BD-Live is also referred to as Blu-ray Profile 2.0)

U-Control Example
An example of picture-in-picture functionality on HD DVD shown above for the movie "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift".

Not to be left out, Finding Nemo and the first Narnia movie will have "full motion picture-in-picture" bonus features. This capability provides viewers with the ability to see a second video feed in a smaller frame, much like picture-in-picture features on televisions. HD DVD titles have had this for quite a while, and it can be a very useful tool for director's commentaries and making-of sequences where they can show a stunt being done against a green-screen while the scene from the movie is playing.

In order to support this feature, however, the Blu-ray player must have that ability, which is part of the Blu-ray Profile 1.1 that will be required for all Blu-ray players introduced after November 1, 2007. To date, no existing Blu-ray player is capable of supporting either the Blu-ray Profile 1.1 or 2.0 features. (It's possible that some may be able to be upgraded via firmware if they contain the necessary hardware, but nothing has been announced by any manufacturer yet)

The fact that Disney is planning on producing discs with functionality that no current Blu-ray player has is interesting to say the least. If these features are important to you, make sure you buy a Blu-ray player that will support them!

So, my take from this announcement isn't so much excitement about the titles being released, but rather the fact that Disney is pushing the envelope of the Blu-ray disc format by releasing big titles with new, as yet unsupported, features. This indicates that Blu-ray player manufacturers have some work ahead of them, and that we'll be seeing announcements of players that support these features some time around the end of the year.

I do know that Disney has now set the bar higher for the features required in any Blu-ray player that I would spend my money on! Perhaps the real shame is that all of the aforementioned features are already supported by my year-old HD DVD player, but Disney isn't releasing movies on the HD DVD format... yet.

Press Release

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Announces the Disney Blu-ray Title Wave Coming 2008

August 17, 2007 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (WDSHE) announced today more innovations in the Blu-ray format with the Studio’s first ever Platinum Blu-ray release, the Studio’s first BD-Live title, and full motion picture-in-picture Blu-ray bonus features.

The Studio announced the first animated Platinum coming to Blu-ray will be the timeless treasure Sleeping Beauty. Releasing Sleeping Beauty on Blu-ray marks a milestone for the format as these titles are not released until a format has been proven both technologically and in terms of consumer acceptance – and Disney’s animated releases in the past have been a major catalyst for any format’s growth. Pinocchio’s release on VHS and Snow White’s release on DVD marked major growth milestones for both of those formats. The Sleeping Beauty Blu-ray Disc release will also include a virtual castle and multi-player activities – both utilizing the BD-Live technology.

"The Platinum titles are the crown jewels of the Disney Studios and we do not take releasing them lightly on any format. The proven Blu-ray technology has allowed us to take our films to new heights, fully utilizing the larger capacity and interactive capabilities for an incredible all-new consumer experience," commented Bob Chapek, President of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.

In addition, WDSHE announced the special edition release of the action-adventure blockbuster National Treasure, which will become the Studio’s first BD-Live Blu-ray Disc title. In addition, the Studio will bring two of its treasured family classics to Blu-ray Disc, Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, both of which will feature full motion picture-in-picture bonus features.

"The strides that we’ve made with this format are just the tip of the iceberg and we are confident that consumers will be astounded by the level of entertainment that can only be achieved by using the maximum capacity of the Blu-ray Disc format. All of these wonderful titles will appeal to the ever growing Blu-ray market and we are extremely proud to offer these in the most pristine and robust presentations ever for Disney fans around the globe," continued Chapek.

This exciting slate of Blu-ray Disc releases will begin with The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in spring 2008, followed by National Treasure in summer of 2008 and culminating with Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo and Sleeping Beauty in fall 2008.

About Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, a recognized leader in the home entertainment industry, is the marketing, sales and distribution company for Walt Disney, Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax and Buena Vista product which includes DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and electronic distribution. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is a division of The Walt Disney Studios.

Source: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment



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