Disney Denies Report That Catalog Titles Won't be Released on 4K Format

Over the weekend a rumor sprung up that The Walt Disney Company would cease production of their live-action catalog titles on the physical 4K ultra-HD format with the exception of new theatrical titles, animated Disney/Pixar films, and works from the Marvel and Star Wars brands. Considering Disney's "vault" strategies in the past and being unwilling to let catalog titles screen in theaters alongside their new releases (plus the decreasing interest in the home media market), the report spread like wildfire and was pretty well believed. A Disney spokesperson has now released a statement on the matter, seemingly refuting it entirely.

“There are no plans to discontinue releases in a particular format," a statement released to Forbes reads. "We evaluate each release on a case by case basis and pursue the best strategy to bring our content into consumer homes across platforms that meet a variety of demands.”

Despite being framed as a denial of the report, the above statement doesn't actually contradict anything from the initial claims. News of this first came from The Digital Bits editor Bill Hunt, citing multiple reliable sources, which indicated that physical 4K releases would no longer be planned for anything that wasn't either a film fresh out of theaters or a catalog title from Marvel, Star Wars, or from the animated side of Disney's vault (including Pixar), with potentially a special case being made for James Cameron's 20th Century Fox titles Aliens, Avatar, True Lies, and The Abyss.

As the above statement reads, an evaluation of older catalog titles that don't fit any of the above descriptors could no doubt fall into the "case by case" instance where the "best strategy" for its consumer release does not include a physical 4K disc. Some notable Fox films not yet released on physical 4K include The Sound of Music, The Grapes of Wrath, Miracle on 34th Street, Patton, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Fight Club, while other live-action Disney films like the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise haven't been released on the format either. Granted the statement from Disney doesn't rule out the possibility that the above popular films will eventually get a 4K disc release, but time will have to tell if this statement ends up reflecting reality.

Hocus Pocus and Home Alone will be the next two catalog titles released on the format with retailer exclusive steelbook packaging planned for later this year. Both titles are available to own on 4K disc starting September 15. It remains to be seen what the next titles might be, or if there will ever be any more.