This may seem like an odd question, but does anyone know if Disney even still has the original CAPS files for RDU? Have they ever been used in a home video release (I don't have my VHS copy anymore so I can't check it)?
Given the poor treatment of the movie it got by Disney after its opening day weekend, I wouldn't be suprised to hear they just deleted the files figuring they had a film copy anyway and they weren't going to make much money off of it in the future.
I don't think 1990 Disney would be so stupid to delete some digital files. There is no reason behind this.
Some possible theories (all of which are linked to the fact that Disney are lazy and can't be bothered that much with this movie):
1. They did indeed delete the files. Despite it not doing too well at the box-office, I suppose this would equally be a bit odd, especially since they didn't do so with Beauty and the Beast
or other early 90s films. In any case, I can't see an embittered Jeffrey Katzenberg ordering his minions to erase The Rescuers Down Under
2. There were colour timing issues with regards to the infancy of the CAPS system. The many re-releases of Beauty and the Beast
have hinted at the difficulties the artists faced with the new system.
3. The film was inked and painted digitally, but all editing/post-production was done the traditional way on film. The subsequent CAPS films may have been edited digitally, or it may not be seen as worthwhile to go back to the original source material for a film that's not guaranteed to sell millions like Beauty and the Beast
or The Lion King
And though I don't have a copy of The Rescuers Down Under
on VHS, it definitely wouldn't have been pulled directly from the CAPS files. I believe Disney's first all-digital transfer on any home video format was A Bug's Life