Previously, I thought that a good chunk of the Signature Collection would line up with the live-action/hyper-real CGI remakes that Disney keeps commissioning, but with Pinocchio's remake far away, it's next. It almost makes sense since the film has been sitting in the vault since 2011.
The digital release date is January 10th, the physical release will be on January 31st. You can pre-order the standard editions now...
Pinocchio's Platinum Edition was near-perfect, there were two tiny problems: The Cine-Explore commentary feature ceases to work on certain Blu-ray players, no matter how many firmware updates you give them. The other problem? The restoration team accidentally dropped Jiminy Cricket's "right!" line from 'Give a Little Whistle', though you could call Disney about a year later for replacement discs that corrected this error.
Hopefully the Signature Edition of Pinocchio corrects both. In terms of the new bonuses, it doesn't seem so half-hearted. One of the new ones highlights the roles of women in the studio over the years, hopefully that will be a good featurette that helps correct some generalizations that are spouted about the studio. It looks to be more than just a release for people who are not willing to shell out $100 for the previous, out-of-print version.
The cover artwork, if it ends up being the real deal, is pretty dull. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' cover was quite the offender, with just repasted art from previous releases/promo materials against a white background, and boring BORING typography for the film's logo. Beauty and the Beast's cover, though not fantastic, was still presentable and at least popped out.
This cover basically copies and pastes the image used on the already bland 2003 UK VHS cover, and switches out the dark background with a white one. Mehhhhhh... Hopefully someone will be offering an exclusive cover, because the Best Buy mirror lenticular for Snow White was quite nice. What's with the blue border? Doesn't correspond with the borders for the Snow White and Beauty and the Beast Signature Editions?
The Target storybook cover fares a little better, it almost looks like an exact copy of the 1993 home video release cover, except with no nice background...
I personally like the Best Buy exclusive lenticular slip the best, minimal as it may be...
Seriously, Disney is slacking in the front cover department when it comes to certain releases. But packaging rants aside, where do we go from here?
I think we could follow the vault pattern when making predictions, but I think it's useful to keep the live-action/CG remakes in mind, because a few of them seem to really line up with these releases.
Anyways, here's the Diamond line-up with the vault info:
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Released Oct 2009, vaulted April 2011
- Beauty and the Beast - Released Oct 2010, vaulted April 2012
- Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 - Released Nov 2010, vaulted April 2011
- Bambi - Released February 2011, vaulted April 2012
- The Lion King - Released October 2011, vaulted April 2013
- Lady and the Tramp - Released February 2012, vaulted April 2013
- Cinderella - Released October 2012, vaulting soon
- Peter Pan - Released February 2013, vaulted April 2014
- The Little Mermaid - Released October 2013, vaulting soon
- The Jungle Book - Released February 2014, vaulting soon
- Sleeping Beauty - Released October 2014, in the vault
- 101 Dalmatians - Released February 2015, currently available
- Aladdin - Released October 2015, currently available
Let's say those "vaulting soon" titles all get locked up in April 2017...
Since Bambi has been behind the big metal door for over 4 years now, I think the Blu-ray will be the Fall 2017 Signature Edition. Plus, that would be good because Bambi will turn 75 in August of that year. Bambi Signature Edition in September 2017 sounds quite right!
But there's also Fantasia, which is indeed part of the Signature Collection.
Fantasia actually was a Diamond Edition, the packaging just doesn't say so. However...
It was going to be one for the longest time, had a trailer and all... And when you load it into a Blu-ray player that reads the title/data of a disc, it says "Fantasia Diamond Edition". For some reason, Disney changed things at last minute and marketed it as a standalone edition. That's exactly what happened when Fantasia hit home video in 1991. It was supposed to be part of the "Classics" line, but the packaging made no mention of the Classics in any way... Pop in the VHS, you get the Classics logo at the beginning!
Fantasia, for now, is confirmed to be a Signature Edition. I doubt things will change this time, but anything's possible with Disney's home entertainment branch.
I think Fantasia and Bambi will compete for the Fall 2017 slot, the upper hand going to Bambi because of the Anniversary. Then again, Disney misses dates from time to time. So, right now my prediction: Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 go to these two films, whichever order.
So now that lands us in fall 2018... Since Cinderella hasn't vaulted despite being available for a whopping 4 years (that's pretty long for a vault/Diamond/Signature title!), I doubt they'll pick this one. Cinderella, should it vault next year, will be away for a long while. They wouldn't just take it away, and then a year later release it. I guess Disney kept it in print because of the live-action remake last year, either that or sales were disappointing.
If anything, the top candidate here is Lady and the Tramp. When returning in fall 2018, it'll have been in the vault for 5 1/2 years. Just about makes the usual 5-10 year cycle Disney's known for. The website for this series also confirms that no other titles outside the ones we know will be inducted into the line, so don't expect Signature Editions of current hits Frozen, Big Hero 6, and Zootopia. (They should be included in the collection, if the collection's main purpose is housing the best-selling Disney animated films.)
Spring 2019 easily goes to Peter Pan, returning exactly 5 years after being locked away. Fall 2019? The Lion King for its 25th Anniversary, and I have a feeling the CG remake bows that year since Disney fast-tracked it. Jon Favreau, the director, banged out The Jungle Book, he can bang this one out before a 2019 release date.
2020? At this point, I'm not sure. I'm out of vaulted-before-2017 titles. Any of those get slotted for spring 2020, then they'll be in the vault for an unusually short period of time. Maybe now is the time for Disney to begin listening, because people are catching onto the Vault strategy, and it clearly isn't working the wonders it used to. With physical media sales lowering little by little, they might as well come up with a new strategy...
Who knows right now, but it seems like the Signature Collection is going to keep chugging. It will stay the course, but we'll see what happens when bumps in the road come...
Update: December 7, 2016... It looks The Lion King is Signature Edition numero quattro...
Disney put this video up today, which has a link to the Signature Collection website... It implies that The Lion King is next in line after little wooden head.
My question is, will we get the actual, original version of the film on this disc? The Lion King has been tinkered with ever since its IMAX re-release in 2002. Of course, the 2002 version of the movie was rightfully billed as the 'Special Edition' because of the inclusion of the brand-new, now non-existent musical number 'The Morning Report'. That wasn't the only alteration, though.
For some reason, Disney saw the need to re-animate a group of singing crocodiles that appear during the 'I Just Can't Wait to Be King' sequence. Here they are in the original, which you can see on the 1995 VHS and LaserDisc...
And here are the ones you see in the film in all its post-1995 iterations...
On the 2003 Platinum Edition DVD, the included "theatrical version" of the film is really not the theatrical version. It's the Special Edition, but without 'Morning Report'. All the other changes are there.
More little changes came for the 2011 3D re-release of the movie. The classic Walt Disney Pictures castle is plastered over with the CG castle and the Walt Disney Animation Studios logo.
For some reason, the clouds are gone after Simba talks to Mufasa's ghost...
I think these changes were conducted by the original directors themselves, Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff. It's no different from the changes made to the re-released versions of Beauty and the Beast, and the few minor alterations made to Aladdin for its 2004 DVD release.
Either way, I hope we get the original cut, the way audiences saw it in 1994 and on home video in 1995, controversial dust frames notwithstanding. Then I may dip for it...
Bambi - Spring 2018
Fantasia - Fall 2018
Lady and the Tramp - Spring 2019
Peter Pan - Fall 2019
The Jungle Book - Spring 2020 (since The Lion King remake and The Jungle Book 2 are confirmed to be filming back-to-back, I can see this happening)
Sleeping Beauty - Fall 2020?
101 Dalmatians - Spring 2021?
Aladdin - Fall 2021?
Cinderella - Spring 2022?