Will We Ever See the Comeback of Disney Movie Club?April 7, 2021
Or more to the point, should we?
Most Blu-ray and DVD collectors are quite familiar with Disney Movie Club, and although we’ve had plenty of criticisms for this service over the years, there have also been several great reasons to consider “joining the club.” For several years, the main incentive for signing up has been to get titles that were only ever released for members of the club, and there were many classic Disney films that they released exclusively to the DMC.
Sadly, when the pandemic started in 2020, their new exclusive releases all but came to a halt. There were a few new additions here and there, but for the most part they weren’t really reaching too far into the vault for new releases to keep collectors happy. This was initially understandable, as Covid-19 was negatively impacting many industries, and it made perfect sense for new physical releases of movies to dry up as well.
However, after a few months it became clear that this wasn’t just about a world event impacting the Disney Movie Club service; they were actively changing their approach to the service. Gone were the new releases of exclusive classic Disney titles, and in their place we were provided with endless re-releases of popular modern Fox titles. With Disney’s purchase of 20th Century Fox, we knew we could expect to see some of these movies on DMC eventually, but suddenly it was as if every “new” and “exclusive” title was a movie most of us either already had in our collection, or could purchase just about anywhere else for a lower price.
Collectors like myself were wondering if there was even any point to remaining a member of this “exclusive” club, especially when most of their monthly special offers were literally asking you to pay $30 or more for 1 or 2 titles you could buy on Amazon for $5-$10 each. As 2021 rolled around, it didn’t seem as if there was about to be any big change to their new approach, but there may now be a sign of future plans for the Disney Movie Club.
No official announcements have been made as of yet, but if you use the website and search their newest upcoming releases, you’ll notice a few interesting titles on the horizon. All of them are 20th Century Fox titles that had been previously released to the market, but they aren’t the common or modern movies that we’ve come to expect over the last year. Instead, these releases are almost entirely classic titles from the Fox library.
In addition to a few Rodgers & Hammerstein movies, they also had Blu-ray titles such as Hello Dolly, The Grapes of Wrath, Cleopatra, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and All About Eve. After purchasing one title at full price, these movies are each $5-$8 on Disney Movie Club. These prices are so reasonable that anyone missing a few of these movies in their collection might even want to consider taking advantage of this deal if they are currently members.
That being said, this newfound focus on classic 20th Century Fox films does indicate a potential shift in policy. Could it be that DMC is planning to release more Fox movies that either haven’t had Blu-ray releases yet, or have been otherwise difficult to find? Are they going to do for the Fox catalog what they once did for their own vaulted catalog? Who knows for sure, but these releases do indicate a possibility for the future of Disney Movie Club.
Ultimately, as any collector will tell you, we’d all prefer if they just did wide releases on Blu-ray. After all, forcing us to be a special member of a club just to have access to certain releases is pretty ridiculous. If you’re concerned about how well your product will sell, just do limited print runs instead. While I’m happy to see some sign of a change in plans for the DMC, I still question why they even need this service to begin with.
I can’t imagine many people have actively used the Disney Movie Club in the past year, and I have to wonder if it’s even worth the cost to keep it running. Although these classic Fox titles might be a good sign for the future of the club, I honestly don’t think there should be a comeback. There are several changes they could make which might change my mind, but as long as certain collectors are kept from having access to this catalog, I see no reason to hold out hope for the future of DMC.
After all, making a Blu-ray release exclusive to just one member-based service is essentially the same as creating artificial scarcity, a tactic that always leaves a hole in the market which is typically filled by scalpers. Just take a look at any Disney Movie Club Exclusive release on eBay or Amazon and tell me what you notice about the prices. Pretty high, aren’t they? Yeah, because the only way to get those titles officially is through this club, and if you’re not a member of the club, you are forced to find another way to get the releases you want.
There’s no such thing as exclusivity of physical media when anyone can sell the item for more in another marketplace. If Disney wants to avoid the issue of people selling their “exclusive” products on the second-hand market and making money off their artificial scarcity, the answer is to stop making their products difficult to purchase and instead just give their fans what they want.
Perhaps the time has come to not only give up hope for the future of Disney Movie Club, but actually look forward to its eventual demise. If this type of marketplace ever actually served a useful purpose, it has certainly outlived its usefulness at this point. Media clubs have always been pretty predatory in nature, taking advantage of users who didn’t know any better or were likely to forget about their membership. DMC isn’t very different, even if it has produced many decent Blu-ray releases we might not otherwise have.
What do you think? Are you still a member of the Disney Movie Club? Are you hoping for better exclusive releases in the near future? Or do you just want them to cancel the whole service at this point? Share your thoughts in the comments below.