UltimateDisney.com: The Ultimate Guide to Disney DVD
JUNE 16-30, 2005: NEWS ARCHIVES
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June 30, 2005 - Cover art for September's Toy Story: 10th Anniversary Edition has been revised to something with a bit more warmth. See it here. New cover art has also been posted for Disney Princess: A Christmas of Enchantment.
June 29, 2005 - Upcoming Cover Art has been updated with artwork for the Old Yeller & Savage Sam: 2-Movie Collection featuring the Mooch and the pooch.
Final details have come in on the swiftly-approaching July 12th DVDs commemorating Disneyland's 50th Anniversary. We have accordingly updated the press release thread with revised runtimes, a listing of the nine Mickey Mouse shorts that appear on Vintage Mickey and an overview of the contents of Mickey Mouse Club: The Best of Britney, Justin and Christina. Details and menus from the indefinitely delayed fourth disc, Secrets, Stories & Magic of the Happiest Place on Earth have been split into a thread of its own.
Ever since the Disney DVD Insider publication found in Bambi first mentioned it, some have been asking about an Old Yeller: Special Edition. Well, a new preview on the Disneyland 50th Anniversary DVDs confirms that a 2-disc re-release of the studio's 1957 family drama is coming in the near future. While the immediate response may be "I don't get it. There's already a wonderful 2-disc Vault Disney DVD of this film!", and most (if not all) of the extras promoted seem to be ported over from that set, one inclusion will distinguish this re-release: like September's The Parent Trap: 2-Movie Collection, this package will also include the 1963 sequel Savage Sam. Whether that will simply be ported over from its fullscreen barebones disc remains to be seen, but at the very least, those who haven't yet purchased either film will have an extra push to pick up this set, especially if it's as low-priced as The Parent Trap I & II set. You can count on UD to have more details as they come in and when the release approaches (and a date has yet to be announced), an in-depth review and comparison to the currently-available DVDs. What's next, a 2-pack with Pollyanna and Polly?
The once-Disney 2005 sci-fi/comedy adaptation The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy will come to DVD on September 13 in separate widescreen and fullscreen versions, each apparently only a single disc. While no press release has been issued, bonus features will include deleted scenes (some shot just for the DVD), an audio commentary, and a making-of featurette. Despite opening at #1 and Douglas Adams' creation having a 20+-year cult-following, Hitchhiker's has barely earned back its production budget with a $50 million gross domestically. You can preorder this PG-rated Touchstone adventure at Amazon.com at 30% off.
June 28, 2005 - snowhite8 returns for another Weekly Video Update (WMV, 953 kb) which fills you in on today's three new Disney DVDs.
Two new DVD reviews come your way today! Aaron Wallace examines Heidi, the Disney Channel's 1993 miniseries adaptation of Johanna Spyri's beloved novel. Released last month, the disc boasts no bonus features, but it does preserve the full 191-minute cut of the Golden Globe-nominated production. Though the movie "falls prey to various shortcomings", it has twice won over the reviewer and garners a recommendation. Also, Jake Lipson critiques Spirited Away, the Oscar-winning animated odyssey from director Hayao Miyazaki which Disney released to DVD two years ago. Like many other critics, he dispatches remarkable praise for the film and for the 2-disc set which satisfies with quality over quantity.
UD also has some exciting and reliable news but from a source which prefers to remain uncredited. As most readers already know, Lady and the Tramp and The Little Mermaid are planned for release as 2-disc Platinum Edition DVDs next year in March and October, respectively. Those are set in stone and we have a first (tiny) glimpse of potential Lady and the Tramp cover art today here.
Meanwhile, the direct-to-video sequel Brother Bear 2 is slated to make its splash on DVD summer 2006. The feature's storyline will center on Kenai (who, you may recall, has been transformed into a brown bear) as he travels the picturesque Pacific Northwest at the end of the Ice Age. During his adventures, he remains haunted by dreams of his previous life. As a human child, he befriended Nita, the daughter of a tribal elder. The pair's past friendship collides with the present as Kenai and Nita embark on a journey as bear and woman. Rutt and Tuke are also back for this adventure. Also in the direct-to-video world, Disney Princess Fairytale Treasures will become the latest addition to the Disney Princess DVD line. It's expected September 2006, although little else is known about it right now.
In the theatrical world, we have updated our Upcoming Movies page with new information on films scheduled to hit the big screen in 2006 and 2007, including Roving Mars, Goal!, Underdog and Chris Sanders' American Dog.
|Temporarily Reduced in Price (for Disneyland's 50th Anniversary) - Just $8.99 at BestBuy.com (Save up to $14 per DVD!): Aladdin: Platinum Edition (Review), Brother Bear (Review), Mulan: Special Edition (Review), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Review), Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers (Review), The Haunted Mansion (Review), The Country Bears
BestBuy.com: Free in-store pickup, starts Tuesday for new DVDs.
Amazon.com: Free shipping on $25 or more. Circuit City:
The Pacifier - $14.99
Target: Buy The Pacifier and get a bonus DVD with trailers for Sky High, Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and Greatest Game Ever Played.
June 27, 2005 - A writeup has been added to our Coming to Theaters page for Pirates of the Caribbean 3, with a production update for this installment being prepped for 2007 release.
In the late '80s and early '90s, "Under the Umbrella Tree" was a weekday staple of the Disney Channel. This live action children's series was set in a house occupied by a human lady named Holly and her three animal friends Gloria Gopher, Iggy Iguana, and Jacob Blue Jay (brought to life with impressive puppetry). Now, more than a decade after leaving the air, the show has come to DVD through a deal with Canadian distributor Cinerio Entertainment. Today, we bring you an in-depth review of "Under the Umbrella Tree" Volume 1, which boasts five classic 15-minute episodes and new introductions from Gloria, Iggy, and Jacob. This region-free disc is available exclusively at Cinerio's website and is the first of several compilations coming.
It was a fourth place finish for Herbie: Fully Loaded in its first weekend in theaters. Disney's live action comedy grossed an estimated $12.8 million since Friday, bringing its five-day total to $17.8 million. The film's opening performance was at the low end of expectations, as was the case for most of its competition, and total box office grosses were down for the 18th consecutive week, breaking a twenty-year-old record for futility. In 16th, Howl's Moving Castle took in another $560,000 and has grossed just under $2.5 million to date. As usual, Box Office Mojo has the full chart and plenty of intrusive advertising.
June 25, 2005 - 'King Shasta' has sent in a link to Playthings.com which summarizes some of Disney Consumer Products' plans, as revealed at the previously-mentioned 2005 Licensing Conference in New York. Among the items of interest are "Mickey's Club House", an animated series for preschoolers launching next spring on the Disney Channel, another confirmation of October 2006's The Little Mermaid Platinum Edition DVD, and something called Little Mermaid Reflections that will be released to DVD the same fall.
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June 24, 2005 - Disney's National Treasure was the top-selling home video release of May, a month that saw overall declines reflecting this year's box office slump. Behind Treasure (the 3rd bestselling DVD of 2005 thus far) and a strong performance by Scrubs: The Complete First Season, Buena Vista managed to finish second among all studios for the period. Home Media Retailing has a bit more info.
Our Cinderella Platinum Edition screening report has been updated with four supplement stills from Disc 2's deleted scenes and documentaries.
June 23, 2005 - Artwork for both discs from The Parent Trap I & II Collection has been posted here. Revised cover and new disc art for Disney Princess Stories: Volume 3 can be found here.
June 22, 2005 - UltimateDisney.com was able to attend a special screening of some of this fall's Cinderella: Platinum Edition DVD today in New York. We've put together a thorough report on the presentation and the bonus feature excerpts observed. Make sure to reach the end; we've also put together a snazzy-looking table on the first eight Disney Platinum Edition DVDs, spanning from October 2001's launch through the two sets due next year.
Herbie: Fully Loaded opens in 3,301 theaters across North America today. It is Herbie's first big screen outing since Herbie Goes Bananas, which opened in theaters twenty five years ago to the week, on June 25, 1980. Reviews for this fifth installment of Disney's largest live action franchise are unsurprisingly mixed; The New York Times calls it "a perfectly silly movie for a silly season that in recent years has forgotten how to be this silly" and praises Lindsay Lohan's star turn, while Roger Ebert sarcastically focuses on the breakthrough of the thinking car and dismisses the film as "pretty cornball."
Also opening today in Hollywood is Disney's Soda Fountain & Studio Store, next door to El Capitan Theatre at 6834 Hollywood Boulevard. While the former portion will serve up homemade ice cream and shakes, the "Studio Store" will probably interest many of you. It promises to offer "the largest selection of old, new and hard to find DVDs" plus exclusive Disney film merchandise. The doors open at 9:30 each day and an online store will be coming soon. Even if you can't make a visit, you can check out their website.
The Licensing 2005 International Show in New York has brought news that Disney hopes to release the Pixar-less sequel Toy Story 3 to theaters in the summer of 2008. Meanwhile, the Disney Princess line has proved so successful that next year Disney will unveil the "Disney Fairies" brand for girls to graduate to. The new line will be based on a novel by Ella Enchanted author Gail Carson Levine, centered on Tinker Bell and friends, and presumably tied into the upcoming direct-to-video feature The Tinker Bell Movie.
June 21, 2005 - Disney has just released the one-sheet poster art for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, the highly-anticipated big screen adaptation of the first in C.S. Lewis's beloved fantasy novel series. It appropriately depicts enduring images from the book such as Lucy at the lamppost, the White Witch in her snow-cursed world, and most prominently, Aslan, the lion king of kings. Interestingly, the credits do not list a single cast member. View our Narnia section of "Coming to Theaters" for a look.
Our final "Bear in the Big Blue House" review for the time being covers Early to Bed, Early to Rise, in which the 7-foot host and his furry friends address the questions only kids are willing to ask about falling asleep and waking up. Between the imparting of the good habits, the dispatching of the appealing humor, and singing of the catchy songs, this is another volume that's sure to please.
Twenty years ago today, Disney released Return to Oz to theaters. Read the DVD review.
June 20, 2005 - Bad news! Buena Vista's Publicity department has yanked Secrets, Stories & Magic of the Happiest Place on Earth from their listings. It now appears that this much-anticipated new documentary-and-more DVD has been indefinitely delayed, as was originally reported by Amazon.com and Disney's customer hotline weeks ago. The three other discs coming in conjunction with Disneyland's 50th Anniversary are still due for July 12th release, but Secrets likely will not become available until later in the year.
Colorful disc art has come in for six DVDs Disney is releasing in the months ahead: The Muppet Show: Season One (Disc One), the 4-episode That's So Raven and Phil of the Future volumes, My Neighbors the Yamadas, Little Einsteins: Our
Big Huge Adventure, and Disney Princess Sing Along Songs, Volume Two. Check out Upcoming Cover Art to see them all.
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Variety reports that Disney and Spyglass Entertainment are putting the final touches on a deal to bring "Underdog" to the big screen as a live action feature. The film's script by Joe Piscatella and Craig A. Williams, follows the dimunitive hound through the lab accident which gives him superpowers and a secret identity, known only by the 12-year-old boy who adopts and befriends him. The caped canine with a flair for rhyming couplets is best known as the star of NBC's tongue-in-cheek cartoon, which ran for nine seasons beginning in 1964. Disney's film will use a real dog for the title role, but with CGI enhancements. The studio is hoping Underdog could become a possible franchise for the Walt Disney Pictures branch.
In our third of four reviews covering this month's "Bear in the Big Blue House", Aaron Wallace looks at Sense-sational!. It's praised slightly less than the previous discs because only two of the three episodes provided live up to that title and actually deal with senses, a topic which is not quite the most appealing. Nonetheless, "the winning series, satisfactory DVD treatment, and low retail price make this one worth considering" for parents of preschoolers, who will enjoy watching the series with their offspring.
June 19, 2005 - Disney has opened up the official website for Chicken Little, the studio's first fully CG-animated production which they hope to bust blocks this November. Actually, there are two rather elaborate sites which are now mostly functional. The fun-to-navigate movie website offers the standard fare: information on characters, a synopsis, a gallery, wallpapers, buddy icons, and a 3-difficulty memory game. The other site, The-Sky-is-Falling.com, establishes a bit of folklore for the film (think Blair Witch Project, only far less spooky and convincing), with what appears to be a news source for the doom-impending community, complete with a survival guide and reports that suggest the end is near. Plus, there's the opportunity to make the Chicken do some dancing.
Herbie, the love bug first introduced to the screen nearly forty years ago, returns to the limelight this week. This afternoon, 856 theaters around the nation will screen Disney's new film Herbie: Fully Loaded. You can attend for free if your name is Herbie! The G-rated comedy/adventure will open in more than 3,000 theaters on Wednesday, its official release date. If you simply can't wait, ABC Family will be airing a half-hour special "Herbie: Fully Loaded & Retooled" hosted by star Lindsay Lohan on Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 East/Pacific.
June 18, 2005 - The Direct-to-Video section has been overhauled to create some semblance of order. This page is now divided into several parts: (1) New & Upcoming direct-to-video releases (of any kind), (2) Animated Sequels and Original Features (arranged chronologically), (3) Compilations and other titles that don't fit anywhere else, (4) Live Action direct-to-video films, (5) Walt Disney Treasures, (6) Classic Cartoon Favorites, (7) Disney Princess and Sing Along Songs DVDs. When a new direct-to-video title is released, it will be moved from the top section to its appropriate subcategory. This page remains the area of UD where lines are most blurred and it's tough to classify, but we're still aiming for the complete and chronological approach by which the other sections are organized. The TV Movies (1991-Present) section has also been updated for easier navigation among its three divisions.
Today is the last day to make or revise box office predictions for Herbie: Fully Loaded and, in turn, the last day to qualify for the prize (a Disney DVD of your choosing, up to $29.99 SRP) in the Predict How Much the 2005 Disney Films Earn competition on the UD Forum.
June 17, 2005 - UltimateDisney.com's 9th Contest, our Summertime Screencap Challenge, has just been launched! Fifteen partially-obscured screencaps have been posted. Identify as many as you can, and you could win the Disney summer movie of your choice on DVD. Choose your potential prize from 68 eligible titles. Full details, enter.
Howl's Moving Castle expands to 202 theaters today. (Showtimes / UD's Film Review)
National Treasure made over $170 million domestically in theaters and is one of the highest-selling DVDs of the year, so news today that Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer are moving towards a sequel is not too surprising. The studio has hired Gregory Poirier to pen a script, which has been happening a lot lately. As reported yesterday, Poirier's script for the Swiss Family Robinson remake is currently in play. He also has done uncredited production work on Antarctica and The Shaggy Dog, both coming to cinemas early next year. Director Jon Turteltaub is set to return for National Treasure 2 but details are otherwise scarce.
Aaron Wallace takes a look at Cadet Kelly, the month's other Disney Channel original movie making its home video debut. This one stars Hilary Duff as an artsy Manhattan tween who must adapt to military school when her mother remarries a general. While the movie set ratings records for the cable channel, it's a middle-of-the-road production which offers a few surprises and a generally enjoyable time. Like The Even Stevens Movie, the DVD boasts some much welcome (and similar) extras: a feature-length cast audio commentary, a multi-level game narrated by co-star Christy Carlson Romano, a DVD-ROM party planner, and a brief featurette. Read more.
June 16, 2005 - Six new menus have come in for Disneyland: Secrets, Stories & Magic of the Happiest Place on Earth, apparently still due on July 12th with the three other general Disney DVDs. Many will agree that this disc appears to be the most exciting of the lot, boasting a brand new feature-length documentary on the pioneering 50-year-old theme park, extended interviews with two who remember Walt, a 1962 Cinemascope short of Walt and Mickey at New York's Radio City Music Hall, a Wonderful World of Disneyland trivia game, and 12 sing-alongs of familiar theme park tunes.
High-res (and revised) cover and disc artwork for The Muppet Show: Season One has just been added to Upcoming Cover Art.
Stills of three menus and a Marlee Matlin bonus feature from Baby Wordsworth, the 18th DVD in the Baby Einstein series, have been posted here. The disc is due on July 19th.
Assorted Disney movie news, via Variety: Greg Kinnear has joined the cast of the studio's upcoming football drama, previously titled Invincible. Kinnear (As Good As It Gets, Stuck on You) will play former Philadelphia Eagles coach Dick Vermeil opposite Mark Wahlberg, who stars as Vince Papale, a 30-year-old bartender who became a walk-on rookie for the squad in the late 1970s. The project will begin shooting this summer for release in 2006....Disney has hired Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3, U-571) to direct the studio's upcoming remake Swiss Family Robinson. Mostow will also rework the Greg Poirier's accepted script with writing partner Sam Montgomery. The Mandeville Films-produced picture is set to film in Australia next year for an undetermined release date.
Menu screencaps have come in for four of next month's Disney DVD releases: Vintage Mickey, The Best of the Mickey Mouse Club, Mickey Mouse Club: Best of Britney, Justin & Christina, and Ice Princess. Click here to view them all.
The Best of the Mickey Mouse Club's Episode Selection screen reveals the five shows from the late '50s and early '60s sampled for the July 12th disc. Each day of the week is covered, from a Fun with Music Day in September 1957 through an Anything Can Happen Day from November 1964. This means that none of last December's Walt Disney Treasures set will be recycled (that 2-disc tin held the first week's worth of episodes from October 1955). Highlights from the most recent incarnation of the series arrive in Mickey Mouse Club: The Best of Britney, Justin & Christina, which focuses on three Mouseketeers who would go on to be pop stars. This disc appears to follow the same episode format, though an Episode Menu has not been released. Each "Best Of" DVD carries a 90-minute running time, which ensures that the episodes will not be presented in full. No Cartoon Selection menu was provided for Vintage Mickey and no menus whatsoever were issued for Secrets, Stories & Magic, the fourth DVD due July 12th that seems to be up in the air depending on who you ask. Those who have been asking about these two discs may have to wait until review copies go out later this month. We'll bring you more as soon as we can.
Anyone familiar with this site will know that the name "Disney" can apply to a wide variety of things. Though we're not quite halfway into 2005, this December is already shaping up to be a solid month for animated Disney DVDs with a diverse slate encompassing that label. Yesterday, we informed you that Pixar's highly-acclaimed 1999 sequel Toy Story 2 will be revisited on December 26 as a 2-disc Special Edition. Sometime before that, Vanguard's Valiant, the first British CG-animated film, will make its way to Region 1 bearing the Disney DVD logo; the Mouse has distribution rights for the film in North America, where it will open in theaters this August. Also scheduled for the last month of the year is Kronk's New Groove, a 2D-animated direct-to-video feature from the Australian-based DisneyToon Studios, formerly part of Disney's Television Animation department. Rounding out the month is the fifth wave of Walt Disney Treasures arriving on the first Tuesday, two of which will provide vintage cartoons: The Chronological Donald, Volume 2 and Disney Rarities, which remains mostly a mystery to us at this point. Of course, it still being June, some of these release dates are subject to change. If they don't, it will be an interesting end of the year for collectors. See our fully-updated Release Schedule for more on these and other upcoming Disney DVDs.
Recent Disney DVD Reviews:
The Even Stevens Movie - Smart, funny, and well-written feature-length finale to the comedy series which consistently raised the bar for the Disney Channel. Fun extras include a great commentary, spirited game and extensive party planner.
The Pacifier - An entertaining but predictable fish-out-of-water comedy vehicle for Vin Diesel; DVD skimps on extras (save for a sarcastic commentary), but delivers great audio/video.
Tarzan II - Unexciting "midquel" about Tarzan's boyhood tribulations lacks the subtlety, visual power, and universal appeal of its predecessor. The feature and its handful of extras cater purely to young viewers.
Bear in the Big Blue House: Storytelling with Bear, Visiting the Doctor with Bear - Low-priced, 70-minute volumes of Playhouse Disney's fun, musical children's show communicate life lessons in an entertaining fashion.
Mickey Mouse in Black and White - While the content could be better organized, Mickey's earliest cartoons offer sheer entertainment.
Recent Touchstone, Miramax, and Buena Vista DVD Reviews:
Sling Blade: Director's Cut - Collector's Series - The extended cut of this exceptional award-winning drama is rivaled in length by a multitude of mostly biographical bonuses on writer/director/star Billy Bob Thornton.
Power Rangers S.P.D.: Volume 1 - Joining Forces - Five-episode compilation of the children's action series' pretty unremarkable latest incarnation.
Father of the Bride: 15th Anniversary Special Edition - Laughs and a tender story of a frustrated father make for an exceptional family comedy. The disc is less than you'd hope for, but still a cut above the film's previous DVD.
"Home Improvement": The Complete Second Season" - Could use more power in the extras department, but otherwise it presents the Tim Allen sitcom's entertaining sophomore year episodes with the utmost quality.
The Best of Tokyo Pig - Eight episodes of a bizarre anime series about a smart 9-year-old and his powerful pet pig. Primarily for anime fans, but those who are open-minded may enjoy the show's quirky sense of humor and randomness.
Spider-Man: The Venom Saga - Five-episode compilation of the mid-'90s cartoon covers the origins and offspring of Venom, a dark, menacing fellow web-slinger who terrorizes Spidey and others. Nice handful of extras.
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