Some very honest thoughts (that I'm willing to share here), take them or leave them...
-Some of the titles that were going to be part of the "Generations Collection" (Sammy, Double Switch, Hunter/Rockstar) at the last minute turned into DMC titles. I have no idea why this was, just that the powers that be made this call.
-The powers that be at Disney Home Entertainment have slowly changed their priorities over the years. Much of this is due to change in leadership (Roy's dead, Dick Cook is gone, Bob Iger is in charge, etc.). Where as previous Disney regiems seemed more interested in making the film and tv productions of the past available for fans, the current leadership is too caught up in Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars to give anytime to Davy Crocket or Annette. I've gotten this from multiple sources from the company, both in personal correspondence and in news articles, Bob Iger does not care about vintage Disney. He is far more interested in all the franchises he has been bringing into the Disney family. With that being the feeling at the very top, it kind of strongly flavor feelings on the issue going down the ranks.
-Fan campaign can and does work, however there are something that are out of the hands of the fans (unless suddenly such campaign had millions of Disney fans behind them). Frankly, we are probably only ever going to get sub-[ar release for a great many of these vintage titles. Yes, I agree, they can and should do better. Yes, I agree, they charge too much. But it is what it is. I personally find it gratifying to have had the small impact we have had with Open Vault Disney. And yes, we've had an impact. And if 2,000-3,000 fans can do what has been done, just image what 20,000-30,000 fans can do?
-The DVD-on-Demand things ticks me off, but I'm at an loss. I keep reading about the crazy money Warner has been making with the Warner Archive Collection and am left wondering why Disney isn't doing the same? Based on my experience and the few things I do know, we can chalk it up to another Disney designed failure. I don't think they wanted it to do well. Disney as of late seems to have a habit of half-hearted doing something that they really don't want to do, and then when it fails due to it not being done right, they quickly go "See, we knew it would not work!" and then go back to the things they actually wanted to do all along. Bob Iger believes in the future of digital streaming and "new" titles, so that is where the focus is.
I have long held a belief that the modern Disney Company holds a kind of arrogance about how they conduct business that I fear may be correct. Basically, as Disney, they can just about whatever they want and people will still go to their theme parks, watch their movies and buy their stuff because they are "Disney." In my experience, a great many of the same fans that end up frustrated with Disney are the same ones that allow such frustrations to continue. Until fans stop spending money of Disney (I can't see that happening), expect DIsney to keep doing a less then amazing job in certain areas, like DVD and Blu-ray productions for vintage titles.
-Music rights trip up far too many titles. Many times these things can cost a good million to clear at least. No studio, Disney or otherwise, want to spend more money on a title then that they will make back up in sales. It's kind of a catch-22. Fans want titles released and many of the folks at the various Home Entertainment want to release things, but they may not feel that they'd get their money back after paying high music rights. But then those same fans are normally not willing to have their titles altered, which is the only way a number of titles will ever get released. So, these titles collect dust as a result.
-Most DMC titles have a limited printing of around 30,000. It's far easier to make your money back and still have deep sales on titles with 100,000 then for 30,000 titles. I promise this does lead to higher prices for DMC titles. The slight sales (let be honest, even DMC titles from the DMC are not the cheapest) that the DMC holds is made up from the money they make on other titles and of course the original membership commitments.
-While I agree buying DMC titles from the DMC is the best option right now, I can't begin to tell you how many Open Vault Disney members were frustrated (and directed said frustration in my direction) about the need to join a club to buy the titles they wanted. So, I have to say that this is actually good thing. It can only add to the number of sales for these titles, which can only help our cause.
-I can't speck for fans outside of Open Vault Disney, but only the Disney Afternoon-era fans seem willing to do what needs to be done to get their titles out, and it is starting to show finally. It frustrates me as there are a number of Walt-era titles I still want, but the support is just not there. I don't know what it is, but I fear that Walt-era titles (outside of DAC and major films like "Popins") wills tart to fade away. Our best hope should this happen is that Disney will ultimately let the rights to these titles expire so that fans can sell the copies themselves.
-For me, bootleg is not an option for one simple fact: it's not honest. It is a major reason I started Open Vault Disney and why I do what I do. I'd rather spend $50 on a legal copy of a title from the studio then $10 for a bootleg of the same title. I have too many friends in the film industry, I know how important those royalty check are to them. That does not at all mean I'm happy with the studios all the time or disagree with many of the frustrated feelings I run into. I'm just feel that honesty should also be plan number one.
-I'm poor and don't have the resources to run Open Vault DIsney the way it needs to be run. It needs better advertising, but I can't tell you how many times in the last 3 years I had to walk away from that better advertising because it cost way more then I had to spend on it. I'm also leaning the ropes of how to run something like this as I go along. I'll be honest, I really wish someone else with more money, more time and better connections was running something like Open Vault Disney. However, no one stood up to do so and I'm the kind of guy that if I believe in something enough, if no one else will take care of it, I will. So I will continue to do the best I can with what I have and hope it's enough. Honestly, even if we closed shop today, I'm very proud of what we've accomplished and don't feel it is anything tobe ashamed of at all. That said, I look forward to accomplishing more!
-Instead of ranting on a Disney fan site where the right people may or may not see it (they probably won't), I always have to encourage writing many letters and e-mails to Disney Home Entertainment. My point all along has been if enough people do that at the same time, I promise they will get the message, Disney still likes making money.
All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.