UPDATE: "There are no plans to discontinue releases in a particular format," a Disney spokesperson said in a statement. "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." The original story continues below.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment currently has no plans to release more live-action catalog titles from the Disney and 20th Century Fox brands on physical 4K Ultra HD, according to a new report. Following Disney's own Hocus Pocus and Fox's Home Alone, both arriving on physical 4K for the first time next month, only new release theatrical titles from the Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars umbrellas will receive physical releases. Catalog titles in 4K, including those from the Fox library acquired by Disney, will be available to own only on digital platforms after the September 15 releases of Hocus Pocus and Home Alone, according to the report.
The report from The Digital Bits editor Bill Hunt, citing multiple reliable sources, is backed by industry insider and scooper Viewer Anon. Both reports note exceptions could apply to the works of heavyweight filmmakers like James Cameron, the director behind formerly Fox-owned films Aliens and Avatar.
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.
Disney favorites not yet available on physical 4K include The Nightmare Before Christmas and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, as well as the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Grown-up favorites from Disney's Touchstone Pictures label include such films as Splash, Pretty Woman, Sister Act, Con Air, and Armageddon.
Hunt speculates this rumored internal decision to cease physical 4K releases for catalog titles has less to do with business impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and more to do with the company's focus on its Disney+ streaming service.
Many films from Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios received their first physical 4K releases just ahead of the November 2019 launch of Disney+, including 2016 blockbusters Disney's Zootopia and Pixar's Finding Dory. Disney's live-action Maleficent (2014) and Cinderella (2015) reached physical 4K that same year, followed by The Jungle Book (2016) and Beauty and the Beast (2017) earlier in 2020.
In March, the complete live-action Star Wars saga was released on physical 4K disc to coincide with the home video debut of last year's Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Other recent 4K discs include the theatrically-released Frozen II from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar's Onward, and 20th Century Studios' The Call of the Wild. Two more recent live-action theatrical releases from the Fox label, Jojo Rabbit and Ford v Ferrari, reached physical 4K this past February.1comments
Beyond Hocus Pocus and Home Alone, and undated listings for the 4K disc premiere of Disney's 1998 animated Mulan, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has no releases scheduled for the remainder of the year.
Hocus Pocus and Home Alone will release to the format with retailer exclusive steelbook packaging. Both titles are available to own on 4K disc starting September 15.