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Disney Announces 2008 Blu-ray Releases

Posted on Saturday, January 5th, 2008 3:09 PM by Scott Jentsch

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has announced its line-up of high definition movie releases on the Blu-ray disc format for 2008. They are also extending the Blu-ray Tour they began in 2007.

Some of these titles were pre-announced back in August, but it's nice to see some more details and a few more titles being given release dates.

The full press release appears below, but here are the highlights:

Fall 2008 - Sleeping Beauty and Finding Nemo

The Sleeping Beauty Blu-ray Disc will feature an all-new enhanced home theater mix in 7.1 surround sound.

Interactive content will be included, such as virtual games, full motion picture-in-picture and online shopping capabilities via BD-Live broadband connection. A Virtual Castle, utilizing the new BD-Live technology, as well as the interactive game Maleficent’s Challenge which puts viewers face-to-face with one of Disney’s greatest villains.

Finding Nemo will also feature an all-new enhanced home theater mix in 7.1 surround sound.

This disc will debut the first Cine-Explore featuring full motion picture-in-picture (BonusView). This interactive visual commentary with director Andrew Stanton, co-writer Bob Peterson and co-director Lee Unkrich allows the viewer to dive deeper into the making of Finding Nemo without ever leaving the film. For kids and families, there is the all-new BD-Java enabled learning mode “Mr. Ray’s Ed-venture.” Hosted by Dory, Marlin and of course Mr. Ray, viewers will learn all about sea life and have the opportunity to earn stickers for their virtual sticker book by answering “quizlettes” while watching the movie. Viewers can also go to their sticker book at any time and create their own scene.

Two Reasons for More Advanced Functionality in Blu-ray Players

These two releases are the two biggest reasons why I have been telling people that the Profile 1.1 (Bonus View) and Profile 2.0 (BD Live) features that are missing in most Blu-ray players right now are important. The Playstation 3 has just recently been updated with Profile 1.1 capability, but no official announcement has been made by Sony about Profile 2.0 functionality (although there doesn't seem to be any reason why it wouldn't be upgraded before these discs are released).

How many of you parents want to explain to your kids why they can't play the games and other activities on these discs? I certainly don't, so that's why I'm waiting for an affordable standalone player to be released that has these features. Hopefully, we get good news from CES next week!

Day-and-Date Releases

Very important in the adoption of the high definition disc formats is the availability of the same movies when they are available on DVD. This is called day-and-date releasing. Disney has announced (reconfirmed) the following titles for day-and-date release:

  • The Game Plan - January 22
  • Gone Baby Gone and Becoming Jane - February 12
  • Dan In Real Life - March 11

Catalog Releases

Also important, but less so in the eyes of the mainstream public, is the availability of popular movies from the catalogs of the movie studios. Here is a quick list of upcoming catalog releases from Disney and its associated studios:

  • The Rock and Con Air - January 8
  • Crimson Tide - February 5
  • The Rookie - March 4

Spring 2008

  • Hidalgo
  • Coyote Ugly: The Double Shot Edition
  • Unbreakable
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
  • National Treasure: Collector’s Edition

These titles represent a good start, but all in all, they only add 15 movies to the list available on the Blu-ray format. That total is growing slowly, but it needs to pick up speed, and with more titles of the caliber of Finding Nemo if they expect people to pay attention and consider making a purchase. 

In other Blu-ray news, Disney’s Magical Blu-ray Tour is expanding to eight additional cities:

  • Toronto, Canada
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • Chicago, Illinois

Press Release

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Rolls into 2008 with Blu-ray™

WDSHE Expands Blu-ray Line-Up with First Platinum Blu-ray Release, BD-Live and Full Motion Picture-in-Picture

Also Announces the Extension of Disney’s Magical Blu-ray Tour

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (WDSHE) announces an exciting new line-up of Blu-ray initiatives in 2008, an ever-expanding Blu-ray slate and new technological-advancements in bonus feature materials, all which guarantee a superior high-definition home entertainment experience.

“This is an exciting time for Disney as we not only announce the release of our first Platinum Disney animated classic on Blu-ray with Sleeping Beauty, but also allow consumers to create an entirely new home entertainment experience with stunning new bonus features and amazing interactive capabilities like never before seen,” stated Bob Chapek, President of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.

For the first time ever, WDSHE will begin releasing its treasured animated classics on Platinum Edition Blu-ray Disc™ launching with Sleeping Beauty in the fall of 2008. Taking advantage of the numerous technological advancements of the Blu-ray format, these all time favorites have been revitalized to include exceptional high-definition picture and sound quality and compelling interactive content such as virtual games, full motion picture-in-picture and online shopping capabilities via BD-Live broadband connection.

Sleeping Beauty will be WDSHE’s first Platinum Edition Blu-ray Disc and will feature a Virtual Castle, utilizing the new BD-Live technology, as well as the interactive game Maleficent’s Challenge which puts viewers face-to-face with one of Disney’s greatest villains. Sleeping Beauty Blu-ray Disc will also feature an all-new enhanced home theater mix in 7.1 surround sound.

Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo Blu-ray Disc will debut the first Cine-Explore featuring full motion picture-in-picture (BonusView). This interactive visual commentary with director Andrew Stanton, co-writer Bob Peterson and co-director Lee Unkrich allows the viewer to dive deeper into the making of Finding Nemo without ever leaving the film. For kids and families, there is the all-new BD-Java enabled learning mode “Mr. Ray’s Ed-venture.” Hosted by Dory, Marlin and of course Mr. Ray, viewers will learn all about sea life and have the opportunity to earn stickers for their virtual sticker book by answering “quizlettes” while watching the movie. Viewers can also go to their sticker book at any time and create their own scene. Finding Nemo will also feature an all-new enhanced home theater mix in 7.1 surround sound.

As part of its continued worldwide Blu-ray release strategy, WDSHE will be announcing the addition of many exciting movie titles to their 2008 Blu-ray line-up in North America, Europe and Asia.

In North America, WDSHE will be releasing new theatrical titles to Blu-ray Disc day-and-date with DVD including The Game Plan (Walt Disney Pictures) on January 22; Gone Baby Gone and Becoming Jane (both Miramax) on February 12; and Dan In Real Life (Touchstone Pictures) on March 11. WDSHE will expand its catalogue titles on Blu-ray Disc with the releases of The Rock (Hollywood Pictures) and Con Air (Touchstone Pictures) on January 8; Crimson Tide (Hollywood Pictures) on February 5; The Rookie (Walt Disney Pictures) on March 4; Hidalgo (Touchstone Pictures), Coyote Ugly: The Double Shot Edition (Touchstone Pictures), Unbreakable (Touchstone Pictures), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Walt Disney Pictures) and National Treasure: Collector’s Edition (Walt Disney Pictures) in spring 2008.

In Europe/Australia, WDSHE will roll out Blu-ray Discs in 2008 beginning with The Recruit (Touchstone Pictures) in January; and Dark Water (Touchstone Pictures) in February; Underdog (Walt Disney Pictures) and Starsky & Hutch (Buena Vista) in February; Coyote Ugly (Touchstone Pictures) and The Rookie (Walt Disney Pictures) in March; Hidalgo (Touchstone Pictures) and Gone Baby Gone (Miramax) in April; Signs (Touchstone Pictures), There Will Be Blood (Miramax), Shall We Dance (Miramax), Ladder 49 (Touchstone Pictures), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Walt Disney Pictures) and National Treasure: Collector’s Edition (Walt Disney Pictures) in May; and The Game Plan (Walt Disney Pictures) and Unbreakable (Touchstone Pictures) in summer 2008.

Japan will see WDSHE release Blu-ray titles starting with Hollywoodland (Miramax) in February; The Rookie (Walt Disney Pictures), Hidalgo (Touchstone Pictures), Meet The Robinsons (Walt Disney Pictures), and Starsky & Hutch (Buena Vista) in April; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Walt Disney Pictures), Coyote Ugly (Touchstone Pictures) and National Treasure: Collector’s Edition (Walt Disney Pictures) in May; and Unbreakable (Touchstone Pictures) and Signs (Touchstone Pictures) in summer 2008.

Following overwhelming consumer response WDSHE is also announcing the extension of Disney’s Magical Blu-ray Tour, sponsored by Panasonic, to eight additional North American cities. The first stop will be to Toronto, Canada the weekend of January 25th and continue on to Nashville, Denver, Dallas, Raleigh-Durham, Hartford and conclude with Chicago at Unity 2008 in July.

The results of the 2007 tour not only reaffirmed consumers' continued desires for high-definition picture without compromise but reaffirmed the need to be educated on how to achieve the ultimate high-definition home entertainment experience beyond just owning an HDTV.

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.



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