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Kevin Krock, editor

DVD News

It has been a while since my last news update, and, the news has been stacking up! I have a little bit of everything for this update, from DVD release schedules to press releases to Disney Platinum DVD moratorium strategy changes to a few rumors. I thought you would probably be interested in all of them, so without further ado, let's start with a run-down of Disney's currently announced release schedule for most of 2003:

May

  • 5/20 – Atlantis: Milo's Return. Direct-to-video; rated G
  • 5/20 – 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. 2-disc special edition; rated G
  • 5/20 – The Love Bug. 2-disc special edition; rated G
  • 5/20 – The Rescuers. rated G
  • 5/27 – A Bug's Life. 2-disc collector's edition; rated G

JUNE

  • 6/3 – Rolie Polie Olie: Baby Bot Chase. Direct-to-video; rated G
  • 6/10 – Jungle Book 2. Rated: G

JULY

  • 7/TBD – Piglet's Big Movie. Rated: G
  • 7/15 – Pinocchio. Live action with Roberto Bernigni, dubbed; rated: G

AUGUST

  • 8/5 – Baby Einstein Series: Baby Galileo. Not rated
  • 8/26 – Stitch! The Movie. Direct-to-video; not rated

SEPTEMBER

  • 9/2 – Kim Possible: The Secret Files. Direct-to-video; rating not available
  • 9/9 – Sleeping Beauty. 2-disc special edition, may be a Platinum DVD; rated: G
  • 9/16 – Bionicle: Mask Of Light. Direct-to-video; not yet rated

 

OCTOBER

  • 10/7 – The Lion King - Platinum DVD Edition; rated: G

NOVEMBER

  • 11/18 – The Santa Clause 2. Rated: G

DECEMBER

  • Walt Disney Treasures – Wave 3

Of note for later this month is the slew of two-disc special editions, which apparently flies in the face of previous comments that Disney is cutting back on two-disc special editions. It may be that they have only cut back for new theatrical releases, but I am certainly happy to see The Love Bug arrive on DVD as a two-disc special edition. I am anxious to see how they look, and I have more on those releases in a bit.

As for the A Bug's Life collector's edition, some of you may remember the collector's edition set from a couple of years ago. It was pulled from production a while ago, and as you will see a little later, this new edition is mostly old stuff with a bit of updating to spotlight the upcoming Pixar theatrical release of Finding Nemo. Also, the price appears to have been lowered to Disney's standard DVD manufacturer's suggested retail price of $30 from the rather pricey 1999 price tag of $50. I do not anticipate significant changes from the original, but I will be sure to check on it for you.

Before we get to the press releases, you should know that Disney recently announced a significant change to its Platinum DVD moratorium strategy. The strategy, which in the past has been to release one Platinum DVD title a year over a 10-year cycle, will now have Disney releasing two Platinum DVD titles a year for the next several years.

This change was announced during its second-quarter 2003 financial results conference call on May 1 by Bob Iger, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Walt Disney Company. The intent is to release the entire Disney animated catalog, including the Platinum titles, on DVD by 2007.

In the same call, Michael Eisner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, continued the DVD discussion and mentioned that starting in mid-2007, Disney will start to issue its animated movies on high definition DVD (HD-DVD), and the moratorium and release cycle will start all over. He also mentioned that the Disney/Pixar films will be going on a four to five year moratorium cycle starting with the removal of the Toy Story series DVDs this month.

Finally, in a rather interesting addition to the Platinum DVD line-up, Disney is adding Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, and Fantasia to its official Platinum DVD list. While I do not know how this affects the impending release of the Sleeping Beauty two-disc special edition in September, I will say that Peter Pan is a welcome addition to the line-up. I am also not entirely sure what more they could do with Fantasia that they did not already do in the Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 box set, but it looks like we will find out in the next couple of years. I only wish that Disney had included Mary Poppins in the Platinum line-up somewhere, and I hope we see a special edition for it in the near future.

So, here is the new Platinum DVD lineup, but given the recent changes, the release dates for everything after The Lion King are essentially up in the air. I am sure we will hear more about this in the coming months, though.

  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – 2001
  • Beauty and the Beast – 2002
  • The Lion King – 2003
  • Aladdin – TBD (was scheduled for 2004)
  • The Little Mermaid – TBD (was scheduled for 2005)
  • Bambi – TBD
  • Cinderella – TBD
  • Lady and the Tramp – TBD
  • 101 Dalmatians – TBD
  • The Jungle Book – TBD
  • Sleeping Beauty – TBD
  • Pinocchio – TBD
  • Peter Pan – TBD
  • Fantasia – TBD

That wraps up the general picture of Disney's plans for 2003 and a little bit beyond, so now let's focus on some of the upcoming DVD release details. For convenience sake, I will present the press information for the titles in chronological release order. First up are the three press releases for The Love Bug, The Rescuers, and A Bug's Life.


Available For The FIRST TIME On 2-Disc DVD
Walt Disney's
THE LOVE BUG
SPECIAL EDITION DVD
Family Favorite Includes A Whole Disc of Bonus Features
HERBIE RACES ONTO DVD ON MAY 20

BURBANK, Calif. — He's the star who provides the most laughs per gallon, he's Herbie, the lovable car with a mind of his own! For the first time ever, you can enjoy Disney's timeless classic The Love Bug in a Special Edition 2-disc Disney DVD. Fully restored to look and sound as it was originally intended, this film favorite also features hours of exclusive bonus materials your entire family will enjoy again and again. Starring Disney legend Dean Jones, Michele Lee, David Tomlinson and legendary comedian Buddy Hackett, and directed by Robert Stevenson, The Love Bug Special Edition DVD is priced to own for $29.99 (S.R.P.) in a collector's 2-disc Disney DVD set. Available on May 20 from Walt Disney Home Entertainment. On 2-Disc Disney DVD, The Love Bug Special Edition DVD includes:

DISC ONE:

  • Remastered version of the film, in the digitally mastered, pristine DVD format
  • Audio commentary with Buddy Hackett, Dean Jones and Michele Lee
  • Animated short: "Susie - The Little Blue Coupe"
DISC TWO:
  • That Lovable Bug
  • The Many Lives Of Herbie
  • Herbie Mania
  • Lost Treasures: Searching For Herbie
  • 1969 Disney Studio Album
  • Production Gallery
  • Behind-The-Scenes Promo
  • Love Bug Day At Disneyland
  • The Man Who Gave Herbie His Voice
  • Deleted Scenes: "Used Car Lot" & "Playground"
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Sound Studio 1: "Herbie On The Rocks"
  • Sound Studio 2: "Thorndyke And The Bear"
  • Production Stills: Production Photos, Concept Art, Storyboards
  • Comic Book
  • Biographies: (Actors) Dean Jones, Michele Lee, David Tomlinson, Buddy Hackett, (director) Robert Stevenson
  • Rare Film-Related Documents
  • Screenplay Excerpt: "Herbie Goes Over The Edge"
  • DVD Credits
  • Radio Spots

Street Date: May 20, 2003
Suggested Retail Price: $29.99 for 2-disc DVD
Running Time: Approximately 108 minutes
Rated: "G"
DVD bonus features unrated
DVD Aspect Ratio: 1.75:1, enhanced for 16x9 screens
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
THX Certified

In The Love Bug Special Edition DVD, Dean Jones, Michele Lee, David Tomlinson and Buddy Hackett join Herbie the race car in a revved-up comedy classic. Jones plays down-on-his luck race car driver Jim Douglas, who reluctantly teams up with the little machine. Douglas thinks his sudden winning streak is due to his skill, not Herbie's. He finally realizes the car's worth when a sneaky rival plots to steal Herbie for himself. But it's Herbie who steals everyone's heart in this wildly fun, roller-coaster ride of a movie that's beloved by generations of families.


Available For The FIRST TIME On Disney DVD
THE RESCUERS
From Disney's Classic Team of Master Animators
All The Fun & Adventure Arrives On May 20

BURBANK, Calif. — Two tiny heroes add up to one big adventure as Walt Disney Home Entertainment presents The Rescuers, available on Disney DVD for the first time on May 20. From the legendary Disney master animators that brought you The Jungle Book, The Rescuers is a thrilling adventure and timeless tale overflowing with action, suspense, and extraordinary little heroes that you can't help but love. With Oscar-nominated music, a snappy new remastering, and all-new bonus features with a multitude of surprises, The Rescuers is high-flying fun that the whole family can share in. The Rescuers is priced to own for $29.99 (S.R.P.) in its exciting premere to Disney DVD and $22.99 (S.R.P) on Video.

On Disney DVD, The Rescuers includes the features:

  • “The Ultimate Case” Set-Top Detective Game – Use your sleuthing skills and solve a mystery for Penny.
  • “Water Birds” Disney True-Life Adventure – Academy Award winning short film (Best Short Subject, 1952)
  • The Rescuers Scrapbook – Never-before-revealed and rare animation art, music and behind-the-scenes secrets.
  • “Under The Hat Villains” – All those Disney villains we love to hate.
  • “Three Blind Mouseketeers” Classic Silly Symphony animated short
  • “Someone's Waiting For You” Sing Along Song

In The Rescuers, join the shy but brave mouse Bernard (Bob Newhart) and his glamorous partner Miss Bianca (Eva Gabor) - two tiny heroes on a great big mission to save Penny, a young girl who has sent an urgent call for help. Taking off on the wings of the albatross Orville, together they soar to the marshy swamp of Devil's Bayou. There, they find themselves on the riverboat hideout of the hilariously evil Madame Medusa, who wants to use Penny to steal the world's largest diamond!

Street Date: May 20, 2003
Suggested Retail Price: $29.99 DVD
Running Time: Approximately 76 minutes
Rated: "G"
DVD bonus features unrated
DVD Aspect Ratio: Family friendly 1.66:1, enhanced for 16x9 screens
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
THX Certified
French language track
Spanish language track


Available At A New Low Price!
A Walt Disney Presentation of Pixar Animation Studios'
A BUG'S LIFE COLLECTOR'S EDITION
DVD Ready to own on May 27

BURBANK, Calif., – The world's first DVD created directly from the digital source, A Bug's Life Collector's Edition will be ready to own on May 27 from Walt Disney Home Entertainment and Pixar Animation Studios (Nasdaq: PIXR) at the new, low price of $29.99 (S.R.P.) with all-new packaging and bonus features. This spectacular and breathtaking “epic of miniature proportions” now includes the beloved animated feature, A Bug's Life, with the all-new “A Bug's Land” Activity Game plus “Fishy Facts” from the upcoming Walt Disney Pictures presentation of a Pixar Animation Studios film, “Finding Nemo,” which premieres in theaters May 30, 2003.

A Bug's Life Collector's Edition offers the ultimate home viewing experience with stunning picture quality and state of the art sound.

A Bug's Life Collector's Edition includes the new features:

  • “A Bug's Land” Activity Games – Join Heimlich the caterpillar and Francis the Lady Bug in each of their own activity games:
    • Heimlich has found the granddaddy of melons, but needs your help to munch on his giant snack.
    • You must help Heimlich choose his bites carefully, or he'll lose his tasty treat.
    • Find Francis the hiding Lady Bug by answering a set of fun trivia questions. With each set of correct answers you get closer to finding Francis. Answer them all and out he pops.
  • Fishy Facts from the upcoming Walt Disney presentation of a Pixar Animation Studios film, “Finding Nemo” – learn all about this exciting new animated film.

Street date: May 27
Suggested retail price: $29.99 (S.R.P.)
Feature running time: Approximately 95 minutes
Total running time: Approximately 202 minutes
Rated: "G." Bonus features unrated.
DVD aspect ratios: Widescreen (16x9 anamorphic) & Fullscreen (1.33:1) presentations of the film
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound

A Bug's Life Collector's Edition includes the outstanding features:

  • Widescreen (16x9 anamorphic) & Fullscreen (1.33:1) presentations of the film
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
  • Abandoned sequences
  • Behind-The-Scenes look at the creation of “A Bug's Life”
  • Hilarious outtakes from the film
  • Pixar Animation Studios' “Geri's Game,” the 1997 Academy-Award Winner for “Best Animated Short Film.”
  • Audio commentary featuring Pixar's team behind “A Bug's Life” Academy Award-winning director John Lasseter, co-director/co-writer Andrew Stanton, and supervising film editor Lee Unkrich
  • Introductions and explanations by the filmmakers
  • Early presentation reel (“Fleabie”)
  • Original story treatment and pitch boards
  • Character designs, concept art and color script
  • Storyboard-to-final-film split screen comparison
  • Behind-the-scenes look at the voice talent
  • Production progressive demonstration (angle feature allows you to move through the various stages of production)
  • Oscar-winning Sound designer Gary Rydstrom on the film's sound effects
  • Trailers and posters (domestic and theatrical)
  • Behind-the-scenes look at how the film was recomposed from its original widescreen presentation to a full-frame presentation for home entertainment release
  • Isolated music track - 2.0 stereo
  • Isolated sound effects track - Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound

After soaring to “infinity and beyond” with the landmark computer-animated box office smash, Toy Story, two-time Academy Award-winning director John Lasseter, Disney Feature Animation and Pixar Animation Studios zoomed down to earth and below for an exciting new adventure filled with fun and fantasy in their groundbreaking second feature, A Bug's Life. Bringing to life a spectacular and breathtaking “epic of miniature proportions,” the film presents a three-dimensional world only three inches high, that is so real that audiences can feel the sunlight filter through a blade of grass.


Moving on to June, we can expect the recent theatrical release, Jungle Book 2, to arrive on store shelves.


Disney's Swingin' Singin' Story Continues!
Walt Disney Pictures Presents
THE JUNGLE BOOK 2
The Theatrical Hit Sequel to Walt Disney's Classic The Jungle Book
Is On DVD and Video On June 10, 2003

BURBANK, Calif., – All the fun and adventure of Walt Disney's wildly popular classic The Jungle Book continues in the all-new movie The Jungle Book 2, available on Disney DVD and video on June 10 from Walt Disney Home Entertainment. Your favorite characters return — from that happy-go-lucky bear Baloo to the wise old panther Bagheera - to join Mowgli and new characters from the man village, Shanti and Ranjan. As Mowgli discovers where he truly belongs, he also learns the true value of friendship. It's a swingin,' singin,' song-filled celebration featuring the star voice talent of John Goodman (Disney/Pixar's Monsters Inc.) as Baloo, Haley Joel Osment (Pay It Forward,The Sixth Sense) as Mowgli and music superstar Phil Collins (Tarzan) as Lucky the Vulture. This exciting, animated adventure includes terrific new songs and will be released on Disney DVD with bonus treasures including a behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted musical scenes, a set-top game, music videos and more. The Jungle Book 2 will be available on DVD for $29.99 (S.R.P.) and on VHS for $24.99 (S.R.P.).

On DVD The Jungle Book 2 includes bonus materials featuring:

  • The Legacy of The Jungle Book – Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
  • Synopsis of Walt's original movie The Jungle Book
  • Mowgli's Jungle Ruins Maze – set-top game
  • Disney's Song Selection
  • Deleted musical sequences with filmmaker introductions
    • “I Got You Beat”
    • “Braver”
  • Smash Mouth music video – “I Wanna Be Like You”
  • “W-I-L-D” music video
  • “Jungle Rhythm” music video

The Jungle Book 2 picks up where the original film left off, with Mowgli (Hayley Joel Osment) now living in the man village. His loving new family includes his little stepbrother, Ranjan, and his best friend Shanti, the girl who wooed him from the jungle. But Mowgli's still got that jungle rhythm in his heart. He misses his old papa bear Baloo (John Goodman), who likewise pines for his little man-cub pal. With Baloo's help, Mowgli decides to sneak off to the jungle again, and it's time to have some fun! Soon the jungle's jumpin' with such foot-tappin' musical numbers as “W-I-L-D” and “Jungle Rhythm.” With the hypnotic snake Kaa seeking a snack, the menacing Shere Khan on the prowl and the villagers scouring the jungle, Mowgli will need the help of all his friends, old and new!

Street Date: June 10
Direct prebook: April 15
Distributor prebook: April 29
Rating: "G." Bonus materials unrated.
Feature Running time: Approximately 72 minutes
Suggested retail price: DVD: $29.99 (S.R.P.); VHS: $24.99 (S.R.P.)
DVD aspect ratio: Widescreen (1.66:1); Enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions
DVD Sound: 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 Digital Surround Sound.
French language track


July brings Piglet's Big Movie and the live action version of Pinocchio, staring Roberto Bernigni. I do not have any additional info on these now, but I will post it when it becomes available. August is also a pretty light month, with only a Baby Einstein release and the direct-to-video title, Stitch! The Movie. The only thing I could find about Stitch! is the following blurb from a much larger Disney press release:

The high spirited adventure of Disney's Lilo & Stitch continues in Stitch! premiering on Disney DVD and video on August 26. Stitch! follows the fun-filled, heartwarming antics of the lovable, troublemaking little alien who splashes down to earth and touches the lives of Lilo and her extended family — not to mention wreaking havoc on the Hawaiian Islands! You all know that Stitch was 'experiment 626' — now 625 other alien experiments are landing on earth and it's up to Lilo and Stitch to rescue these outrageous cousins and change them from bad to good, before they're captured by evil captain Gantu. You'll meet Experiment 221, who causes island-wide power surges and Experiment 625, a lazy little Stitch look-alike who makes great sandwiches! It's non-stop animated fun for everyone!

I will be interested to see how this one turns out, but it sounds a bit like a TV series introduction to me.

Moving on, September brings the DVD release of the long awaited Sleeping Beauty Special Edition. This DVD appears to be a re-adaptation of the old laser disc special edition, but for those of us without laser discs, this looks like a winner. I'll be curious to see what happens with this DVD release and the recent addition of Sleeping Beauty to the new Platinum DVD strategy outlined earlier. This may turn out to be an early 2003 Platinum title, based on the extensive remastering and bonus material outlined in the press release.


FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER ON DVD
THE ULTIMATE FAIRY TALE IN THE ULTIMATE FORMAT
SLEEPING BEAUTY SPECIAL EDITION
One of Disney's Most Requested Films Returns September 9!
2-Disc Disney DVD Includes TWO Viewing Presentations

BURBANK, Calif. - One of Disney's most beloved animated masterpieces is coming “out of the vault” for a whole new generation, as Sleeping Beauty becomes available for the first time ever on Disney DVD and returns on video from Walt Disney Home Entertainment on September 9. A spectacular achievement of sight and sound, Disney's timeless classic returns more magnificent than ever with bonus features never-before-released on DVD in a magnificent 2-disc set that captures the magical fun and history of one of Walt's greatest achievements. Sleeping Beauty Special Edition on Disney DVD boasts a superb direct to digital transfer with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound for state of the art picture and sound. This classic has been meticulously restored and painstakingly reformatted one frame at a time, allowing audiences to enjoy even greater animated detail than was seen theatrically! Additionally, the DVD gives viewers the option of enjoying this glorious film in either 'widescreen' or 'full screen' formats Sleeping Beauty Special Edition will be available for $29.99 (S.R.P.) on Disney DVD. “Of all the stirring legends of the triumph of good over evil, none has ever been so inspirational to me as Sleeping Beauty” — Walt Disney

ABOUT THE DVD

  • TWO VERSIONS OF THE FILM INCLUDED ON THE DVD
    • Full screen version (1.33:1)
    • Widescreen version (2.35:1, enhanced for 16x9 screens). Sleeping Beauty was the first animated film ever released in Cinemascope.
  • RESTORATION — With a stunning new frame-by-frame restoration process, a pristine Sleeping Beauty bursts from the screen in a sea of brilliant colors and textures. Disney's classic fairy tale now shines even brighter than it did during its original release, through the same break-through technique utilized on Disney's Platinum Collection Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs DVD.
  • ONCE UPON A DREAM: THE MAKING OF SLEEPING BEAUTY — Awaken to the behind-the-scenes magic that transformed a beloved fairy tale into a cinematic work of art. Legendary animators, actors and film historians reveal the secrets behind Disney's masterpiece.
  • RESCUE AURORA GAME — Sleeping Beauty themed game with all-new Disney animation. Help Prince Phillip race to the castle and battle the evil Maleficent as you try to break the spell and awaken the sleeping Princess Aurora.
  • PRINCESS PERSONALITY GAME — Discover what Disney princess you most resemble in this fun-filled quiz game.
  • SLEEPING BEAUTY INK & PAINT GAME
  • 3-D VIRTUAL ART GALLERY — Enter the halls of King Stefan's castle and walk through the many illustrious galleries to view rarely-seen preliminary character designs, storyboard drawings, layouts and backgrounds from legendary Disney artist, Eyvind Earle.
  • ORIGINAL STORY REELS - Experience classic Sleeping Beauty story sequences as they were originally intended:
    • “The Capture Of The Prince”
    • “The Fairies Put The Castle To Sleep”
  • “GRAND CANYON” - Academy Award winning short Disney film (Best Short Subject, 1958). "Grand Canyon" was the short that originally accompanied Sleeping Beauty in theaters when it was first released.
  • WIDESCREEN TO FULLSCREEN COMPARISON
  • THE DESIGN – Noted film historian Leonard Maltin and others share their thoughts on the unique design of the film.
  • THE MUSIC - Mary Costa, the voice of Princess Aurora, reminisces about Walt Disney and singing for the film.
  • THE RESTORATION - a captivating vision of the film's spectacular restoration process.
  • “FOUR ARTISTS PAINT ONE TREE” - a special look at the techniques of four Sleeping Beauty artists.
  • CREATING THE BACKGROUNDS - See first-hand how the incredibly detailed and complex backgrounds of Sleeping Beauty were created by Disney's top artists.
  • HELENE STANLEY DANCE REFERENCE - Learn how the animators used live footage of dancer Helene Stanley to create reference poses for the film.
  • LIVE ACTION REFERENCE (PRINCE PHILLIP) - Learn how the animators used live footage to create reference poses for Prince Phillip's character.
  • THREE DIFFERENT TRAILERS
  • “THE PETER TCHAIKOVSKY STORY” - Featurette on the famous composer, and how his music is adapted to the sweeping score of the film.

ABOUT THE RESTORATION

Millions have thrilled to the enchantment, the romance and the adventure of Walt's Sleeping Beauty. For “the ultimate fairy tale in the ultimate format,” The Walt Disney Company has given this classic story of good vs. evil the royal Disney DVD treatment. The film was Disney's first ever wide-gauge film, a 70mm widescreen achievement that created an astonishing richness of detail. This spectacular movie took Walt Disney and his artists over six years to create, and it was the most expensive animated feature of its time. Now, Sleeping Beauty is new again through a direct to digital presentation with an all-new Dolby Digital 5.1 re-mixed soundtrack - creating a superior viewing and listening experience.

Sleeping Beauty has been meticulously and painstakingly reformatted one frame at a time (over 108,000 frames!) working from the film's original digitally stored files - a job that took over 46,000 man hours. With the stunning new frame-by-frame restoration process, a pristine new Sleeping Beauty bursts from the screen in a sea of brilliant colors and textures. Disney's classic fairy tale now shines even brighter than it did during its original theatrical release.

Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty is a magical and timeless story combining some of Disney's most enchanting characters with one of the screen's most infamous villains, Maleficent. This classic animated fairytale is the story of the beautiful Princess Aurora who is cursed by the evil Maleficent to prick her finger on a spinning wheel on her 16 th birthday and fall into a deep slumber — only to be awakened by the kiss of her true love. Raised in seclusion by three good-hearted fairies, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather, the curse isn't undone until the brave Prince Phillip battles Maleficent, who transforms herself into a fire-breathing dragon, and awakens his "Sleeping Beauty" with a kiss.

Street Date: September 9, 2003
Prebook: July 15 (direct); July 29 (distributor)
Suggested Retail Price: $29.99 (DVD) $24.99 (VHS)
DVD Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (widescreen) enhanced for 16x9 screens & 1.33:1 (fullscreen)
VHS Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 (fullscreen)
Rated: "G" General Audiences
Bonus Material: Not Rated and subject to change
Sound: Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound
THX Certified


Then, in October, the third Disney Platinum DVD release will hit store shelves, and The Lion King looks like another winner. I certainly hope the disc turns out as good as it looks on paper:


FIRST TIME EVER ON DISNEY DVD
THE LION KING
SPECIAL EDITION
Platinum Edition 2-DISC DVD Available October 7
First Ever DIGITAL PRESENTATION of Academy Award-Winning Film
Completely Restored With All-New 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix
Featuring All-New Song "Morning Report" From Sir Elton John & Tim Rice
With Never-Before-Seen Animation

BURBANK, Calif. — Disney's crowning achievement, the #1 animated film of all time, The Lion King is available for the first time ever as a Special Edition 2-Disc DVD set from Walt Disney Home Entertainment on October 7. Now “THERE IS MORE TO BE SEEN THAN HAS EVER BEEN SEEN” as this magnificent, Academy-Award-winning masterpiece is presented with such outstanding special features as: TWO versions of the film; an all-new song "Morning Report" by songwriters Elton John and Tim Rice; all-new animation created exclusively for the DVD; a virtual safari in 5.1 Surround Sound; exciting journeys that take you behind this fabled movie and more. Designed specifically for home theater systems, this DVD features the very finest in audio quality with the all-new 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix, as befits the "king of all DVDs." There is MORE TO SEE, MORE TO HEAR and MORE TO DO with the incredible Lion King Special Edition as everyone can enjoy this greatest of Disney animated treasures in the best home viewing mode possible, available on Disney DVD for $29.99 (S.R.P.). VHS $24.99 (S.R.P.).

THERE IS MORE TO SEE

  • The Lion King Special Edition DVD represents the film's first-ever digital presentation of the film - a completely new and enhanced viewing experience!
  • Two versions of the film are included:
    • The Original Theatrical Release
    • Special Edition with the all-new song "Morning Report"
  • Rare deleted scenes.
  • All-new 3D animation has been created exclusively for the DVD.

THERE IS MORE TO HEAR:

  • A Disney innovation! All-new 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater mix
    • - Engineered by Academy Award Nominated Re-recording Mixer, Terry Porter, to create a more dynamic and spatially enhanced audio-sensory experience.
    • - Designed specifically for home theater systems.

THERE IS MORE TO DO:

  • "Experiential" features that extend the movie experience including Games and a Virtual Safari in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound.
  • Go beyond and explore the worldwide phenomenon of The Lion King through a breakthrough navigational system that offers five special journeys of music, film, stage, story and animal inspirations.
  • Revolutionary bonus features and exciting games will appeal to families, DVD enthusiasts, movie fans and anyone interested in this classic film.

ABOUT THE DVD FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS

DISC 1: Zazu hosts you on a fabulous trek through the different realms of the DVD kingdom.

PRIDE ROCK

  • Two Versions Of The Film:
    • Original theatrical release
    • Special Edition with all-new song “Morning Report” seamlessly integrated into the original film.
GRASSLANDS
  • The Making Of The New Song "Morning Report"
  • The Lion King Personality Profile Game

TREE OF LIFE

  • All-New “Circle of Life” Music Video - Performed by the Disney Channel's “Circle of Stars,” including Hillary Duff (TV's Lizzy McGuire), Raven Symone (TV's That's So Raven), Christy Romano (TV's Even Stevens), Anneliese Van Der Pol (TV's That's So Raven), Orlando Brown (TV's The Proud Family), Tahj Mowry (TV's Smart Guy), Kyla Pratt (TV's The Proud Family) and A.J. Trauth (TV's Even Stevens).
  • Sing Along Track

JUNGLE

  • Timon's Grab-A-Grub Game - Disney's FIRST EVER 2-player set top game.
  • Pumbaa's Sound Sensations Game - All-new sound matching game in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound.

ELEPHANT GRAVEYARD

  • Deleted & Abandoned Scenes
    • Bug Football
    • Hakuna Matata
    • Warthog Rhapsody
  • Abandoned Concept for “Can You Feel The Love Tonight”
  • Audio Commentary

DISC 2

Set your course for adventure across the continents or embark on a chartered journey!

VIRTUAL SAFARI

  • Join your outrageous tour guides Timon and Pumbaa for an action-packed blast through the wilds of Africa - in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound!

ANIMAL JOURNEY

  • Learn how real animals inspired the animated Lion King characters - Hosted by Roy Disney

STORY JOURNEY

  • Learn the fascinating origin and influences behind The Lion King
    • Story origins
    • Timeless themes
    • The story comes to life

STAGE JOURNEY

  • Behind the scenes featurette on the hit musical which explores masks, costumes, puppets and more.

FILM JOURNEY

  • Behind-The-Scenes footage
  • Character design
  • Computer animation
  • Storyboards
  • African art inspiration

MUSIC JOURNEY

  • Exclusive interviews with Sir Elton John & Tim Rice
  • Lion King music videos
  • African influence on the music

Plus storyboard to film comparison, early presentation reels, character design galleries, art design galleries and much more!

All DVD bonus materials subject to change.

ABOUT THE RESTORATION

The Lion King- Special Edition offers the highest quality digital presentation with enhanced picture available, with an All-New 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix - creating a more dynamic and spatial audio-sensory experience. For the Special Edition, The Lion King has been meticulously and painstakingly reformatted one frame at a time, working from the film's original digitally stored files. Led by the original filmmaking team from Disney's famed Feature Animation division, a group of Disney's top artists and technicians launched a major effort to remove dust and dirt, add detail and provide the home viewer with a digital picture and sound that is the finest possible.

ABOUT THE MUSIC

All-New Song “Morning Report” — The legendary team of singer/songwriter Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice contribute the new song "Morning Report" to The Lion King Special Edition DVD. The DVD offers "Morning Report" on an alternate version of the film, with never-before-seen animation produced and directed by the original Feature Animation Lion King team. Elton John and Tim Rice won the 1994 Academy Award ? for Best Music (Song), with their song “Can You Feel The Love Tonight.” Their outstanding contributions include such beloved songs as the buoyant “Hakuna Matata,” the upbeat “Just Can't Wait To Be King” and the majestic song “The Circle of Life.” Hans Zimmer won the 1994 Academy Award for Best Music, Original Score for his evocative musical score.

ABOUT THE CAST

The Lion King's stellar cast includes Matthew Broderick (TV's "The Music Man," Broadway's "The Producers"), Jeremy Irons ("The Time Machine"; Academy Award ? winner, Best Actor, "Reversal of Fortune" 1990), Robert Guillaume (TV's "Sports Night"), James Earl Jones ("Star Wars"), Nathan Lane (Broadway's "The Producers"), Cheech Marin ("Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams"), Ernie Sabella (TV's "House of Mouse"), Jonathan Taylor Thomas ("The Wild Thornberrys"), Whoopi Goldberg ("Rat Race") and Rowan Atkinson ("Bean").

  • Street Date: October 7, 2003
  • Feature running time: Approximately 90 minutes
  • DVD aspect ratio: 1.66:1 (widescreen) Original Theatrical Aspect Ratio
  • Enhanced for 16x9 screens
  • Suggested retail price: $29.99 DVD (S.R.P.). $24.99 VHS (S.R.P.).
  • Rated: "G" General Audiences
  • Bonus material: Not Rated. Bonus material subject to change.
  • Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
  • All-new 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix
  • French language track
  • THX certified

From the magnificent musical opening over breathtaking African vistas, to its rip-roaring, emotional climax, The Lion King reigns supreme as one of animation's greatest crowning achievements. Set amid the majestic beauty of the Serengeti, Disney's epic coming-of-age saga tells of the love between a proud lion ruler Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and his son Simba (Matthew Broderick), a naïve and curious cub who "just can't wait to be king."

When Simba's envious Uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons) schemes with his hyena henchmen, including Shenzi (Whoopi Goldberg), trouble invades the kingdom. To the rescue comes a hilarious meerkat named Timon (Nathan Lane) and that warmhearted warthog, Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella) - and soon Simba joins in the carefree lifestyle of "Hakuna Matata." With Rafiki (Robert Guillaume) at his side, Simba reclaims his true destiny and joins the "circle of life."


Finally, let's move on to some rumors that have been floating around the 'net lately. First, the last two Walt Disney Treasures sets have been fantastic collections of classic Disney movies, shorts, and television show, and Wave 3 is due this December. Tentatively on the slate are The Chronological Donald, Disney: The War Years, which is supposed to include the rare feature Victory Through Air Power, and Mickey Mouse in Living Color 2. One other title which I have been anxious to see is Disney in Outer Space, which would include the three classic Ward Kimball/Werner von Braun shorts: Man in Space, Tomorrow the Moon, and Mars and Beyond. Apparently, this set is currently in production, but it might not make it to the shelves in 2003. I really hope it does, though. They are wonderfully classic shorts that truly give us an idea of where space exploration was heading years before we ever reached space.

Moving from Disney to a couple of other studio rumors that might be of interest to you, it looks like we may see the Indiana Jones trilogy on DVD before the end of the year. While they are not really movies for young children, they are fun, classic adventure movies for families with older children. Personally, I love them, and I have been anxiously awaiting their arrival on DVD for a long time. Apparently the trilogy will debut as a four disc set, with each of the three movies on their own disc and one disc of bonus items. Alternatively, I have read that they may be released as part of a series along with The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. Both options are very interesting, but we will just have to continue to wait on these highly requested titles. Rumors about these discs have been floating around for years, but at least it looks like there is more concrete evidence floating around these days. Keep your fingers crossed.

Turning to Warner Brothers, they are showing signs that a two disc special edition of The Iron Giant will be available in August. This wonderful animated feature received a standard DVD treatment a couple of years ago, but now it looks like it will get the full treatment it deserves. I only wish that they would release Cats Don't Dance on DVD in the near future in a similar special edition.

Additionally, by the end of the year WB will supposedly begin releasing many of the Looney Tunes shorts on DVD for the first time. For the last couple of years, they have been saying that they were coming, but nothing more was ever announced. Fortunately, there has been a lot of activity recently around these animated shorts, and the marketing engine appears to be firing up. Based on the online marketing survey that Warner issued a month or so ago, they are considering several formats, ranging from single disc DVDs focusing on a particular character to multi-disc collector's sets featuring up to 60 of the best, remastered animated shorts along with bonus material. No formal announcements have been made, but expect to see more about this in the next couple of months. As soon as I hear any more solid specifications, I will pass them on to you.


One of the proposed Looney Tunes market presentations for the deluxe multi-disc set. Image © Warner Bros.

Whew! That is all for now, but keep checking back for additional information, as things tend to spring up all the time.

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