To be brief, I completely and totally understand the inherent logic of Disney’s vaulting strategy. As a business model, it seems to have worked, because if it wasn’t working the practice would’ve been discontinued by now. Essentially the idea is: if you make a film available only for a limited time every x number of years you’ll drive up demand and sell more.
To be honest, I can deal with the larger titles, a majority of the animated features are ones that I’ve rushed to get when a new format came around. Upgrades are always a questionable call, but ultimately I’ve gone and gotten things over again a few times. Those are the titles I would consider strategically vaulted.
Now, there are then the lesser known titles, which seem to be buried more so than anything. Granted when you’re putting out a new title on DVD there are expenses such as marketing, manufacture, restoration and mastering, but one solution would seem to Disc on Demand, like Warner Archive. Now, Disney launched its own made-to-order line in 2011, but have scarcely used it releasing three titles per year.
Another possibility that Disney does seem to be using more is digital. However, as I talk about here, I still struggle to detach myself from physical copies of movies. And even in the digital realm I’d much rather a digital copy that I can play on a computer or phone and move about rather than one stored elsewhere that I have access to. However, if you are interested Disney does have many OOP titles available for purchase only via Amazon Instant Video things like The Prince and the Pauper.
In the list below, however, I will list currently unavailable Disney titles I’d like to see released on some platform.
Song of the South
I’ve mentioned it on numerous occasions: Disney pretends like this film doesn’t exist only until it’s time for another greatest hits compilation then they dust of “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” or get one of their new singers to cover it. You can’t have it both ways. Aside from the fact that it should be available. Maybe On Demand would be the way to go here. Only those with a familiarity with the product or the studio go that route, it’d be less likely to cause a stir that way than if it was sitting on a shelf in Best Buy.
Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire
There aren’t that many DCOMS, there are even fewer this good and most of them are usually connected with a holiday. This is hands down my favorite of them all.
Spin and Marty
The characters Spin and Marty were introduced to young audiences as a serial story that was part of the The Mickey Mouse Club. The Adventures of Spin and Marty was released as part of the Disney Treasures collection. That constitutes the first season of the show. The second and third seasons have yet to be released. Disc on Demand has proven to be a great solution for shows that have small but dedicated followings. I think this would qualify.
I am not sure this is the film I mentioned in the Zokkomon piece, which may have been a Disney channel film, but it is also a fantasy and looks pretty awesome. When part of my premise in that write up was this line should get diversified, I had to find something right? You will find a trailer and a clip here. I believe this is a great idea for all studios. Many of the majors produce films the world over, and most nations have their own genre cinema as well as their more artistic directors. Watching either kind of film from another country is usually a rewarding experience in one way or another. It seems like Russia would be the next logical spot for Disney World Cinema to release some titles from.
Good Morning, Miss Bliss
OK, so this is kind of a representative choice. Here’s the thing Disney Channel is now in its 30th year. At the start of the last decade it started getting serious in terms of creating popular shows that became phenomena, but they still don’t package their shows properly on DVD, collecting a handful random, disjointed episodes by theme and not by season.
So, if choosing one title to represent Disney, why this one? This was one of the first comedic scripted shows The Disney Channel did (I just learned it was them). Furthermore, I don’t think I ever saw the show as Good Morning, Miss Bliss; but rather repackaged as Saved by the Bell, as some characters do transition over there. Not knocking Saved by the Bell‘s song at all, everyone of a certain age knows it, but I also never saw this show’s opening.
Now, I realize these same episodes are likely included in the Saved by the Bell set, and rights can be complicated. So, if that really bothers you a lot pretend I said Even Stevens, because that had “Influenza: The Musical,” one of the best single episodes of anything, and it was back when Shia LaBouef was funny and we all liked him.
What do you want to see Disney release? I always am eager to learn of new titles. It also bears mentioning that there are great online resources to try and gather momentum for releases like Open Vault Disney.