OT: Disney DVD goes Full-frame


For those of you (like me) who enjoy seeing movies in their ORIGINAL ASPECT RATIO, you will be sad to hear that Disney had decided to release some "kid-friendly" DVDs in full-frame only -- no widescreen presentation. Starting with the new releases of Snow Dogs, Max Keeble and Muppet Treasure Island. I emplore you to call the Disney hotline 1-800-72DISNEY AND email them at disneyinfo@disneyhelp.com and let them know how you feel about this. Don't know how many titles this new policy will effect, but it is the start of a disturbing trend. (Disney released SLEEPING BEAUTY in widescreen on 2-disc DVD in Germany and France, but only in full-frame/pan-n-scan single disc in the United Kingdom. It has not yet been anounced here in the states.) Call and email, show your support for the director's/producer's intended presentation, not some marketing bozo's dislike of "those annoying black bars".

David S.

I agree with you, Will.

The technology exists to put both formats on the same release giving people a choice. That way everyone would be happy.

It seems pretty simple to me... the purpose of DVD is to present the film in the best format possibile, which for serious film enthusiasts means LETTERBOX where applicable.



exactly David. On the Toy Story 2 DVD, you had the option at thebeginning of the movie to select either full-frame or widescreen, with samples showing both options. How hard would it be to do this more often. That way they won't loose the "Full-Color Character Artwork on Disc" as a Special Feature.


Ha ha ha! Yeah, that artwork alone was reason enough to purchase that entire first release of Disney DVDs. If you ask me, I'd say it sounds like some "marketing bozo's" idea to seemingly milk the home theater enthusiast as has been done so many times before, especially if you go back to laserdisc's release history in the US. It's just like many of the special, deluxe, platinum, director's, etc. editions that come out 6 mos. to a year after the rushed bare bones release initially comes out. They know many customers will end up buying both, since you don't know for sure if it will eventually be released in a better presentation or not. So, you buy it to have the movie, maybe after deliberating about it for several months and then weeks later you find an announcement about an upcoming special edition release. Just like Davey says in the Dew commercial: "We got hosed..."

That was my main problem w/ DVD during its first few years. The marketing for a fantastic technology was aimed at the general public of VHS buyers, much to the enthusiast's chagrin. Fortunately, that has changed over the last few years, w/ many of the special editions debuting as the initial release, often a double disc set priced the same as a bare bones release was several years ago. This makes everyone happy. Another great idea is one that Disney has used for Fantasia, Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Tarzan, Dinosaur, Atlantis, & Monsters, Inc. They release both versions at the same time.

News of these so-called "kiddie" releases is kinda disturbing and I hope it's not the start of an industry wide trend. Some studios have been doing it right for several years now, eg. Fox & Disney up to this, while others like Warner Brothers, Universal, & Paramount are just starting to get it.

But I must say that over the last few years, the value of a given DVD purchase has skyrocketed, both in the quality and amount of material presented and in the price structure. I am one pretty happy consumer. I just can't wait for the Indiana Jones series and of course the original Star Wars trilogy. Gee, I hope by the time it's released, there's not another format debuting. ;)
Thank you for the heads-up, Will! Even my 12 year old son/film/soundtrack aficionado knows that it is essential to view the movie as the director visualized it--we proved it definitively several years ago, watching Sleeping Beauty simultaneously in both formats--wow, what an awakening confirmation that was! Now he won't stand for anything BUT the original widescreen presentation if possible! So this bogus idea was not concocted with all kids in mind--I know that there are plenty of uniniated adults out there who don't know what the so-called "letterbox" format is all about! I also know that my son is not going to be happy when he hears about this in the morning--we've been waiting for some time for the Muppet Treasure Island DVD release! Next stop--disneyinfo! Michael Z.

Alex K

Yipes, even my kids view the widescreen version of anything, if given a choice on the DVD.
We've really got to pressure Disney into keeping the original aspect ratio of their productions.
Also, I've run into some people who think something is "lost" or wasted in the black stripes on
their TVs on a widescreen DVD, and would prefer the full screen version.
Nothing is actually wasted on the DVD. The widescreen video is encoded
with exactly that many pixels. I've even seen cheap (non-HDTV) TVs and DVD players at
Sam's Club that allow the TV to underscan the raster lines on the TV so all 500 lines or so are
scrunched down to letterbox size. The DVD player in turn encodes the video to take advantage
of all the lines..and these are mass-market TVs, not even the home-theater ones!


I have sent Disney a rather lengthy yet polite email regarding my opinion of their decision. If anyone cares to read it, I could post it here or email it to you. Also, if I receive a reply, I could post that as well if anyone is interested. I also plan to contact them by telephone tomorrow and voice my dissatisfaction.


if you haven't contacted Disney about this issue yet, please do so. It only takes a few painless minutes.




I received a response to my email stating that they would forward my suggestions and comments to their marketing department as I had requested. C'mon everybody - we need your help...so call, write, email...let them hear from you!


Another title has fallen victim to pan-and-scan-only-itis (ok, maybe it's not a
disease, but it should be). I was in a Disney Store earlier this week, and saw that
White Fang and White Fang 2 have both been released. Weird thing,
though--White Fang was pan-and-scan, but the sequel was widescreen!

My guess is that they figure that the original is "kid-friendly" enough to put it on the
chopping block (so to speak), but anyone that would want the sequel must be a movie
buff and would want it widescreen.


well, according to disneyvideos.com, both
1:33/full-frame, although with the extra added attraction of Dolby Digital Surround Sound?!?!?!

The jury is still out on THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN (MSRP $14.99), BABES IN TOYLAND (MSRP unknown),RASCAL (MSRP $14.99), and THE BISCUIT EATER (MSRP $14.99).

Well that's another $40.00 Disney lost. As a stockholder, I don't see this as boosting the bottom-line.