It’s about to get even harder to buy some of Disney’s weirdest movies on Blu-ray

The Verge

Disney is ending Disney Movie Club, the subscription service and online store where fans could buy Blu-ray or DVDs of films from the House of Mouse. The Digital Bits is reporting that the closure follows a new deal that Disney has signed with Sony, under which Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will take over all physical media production. The news of Disney Movie Club’s shuttering was delivered to the service’s 10 million US users by email, as well as the service’s website on Tuesday.

“We’ve enjoyed serving you for the last 23 years, but consumer behavior and viewing preferences continue to evolve so we have made the tough decision to close Disney Movie Club,” wrote Disney Movie Club in a statement viewed by The Wrap. Disney Movie Club users will have until May 20th to place their last orders, and Disney will officially end the service on July 20th.

First launched in 2001, the Disney Movie Club offered fans access to a vast selection of Disney’s physical media library, including titles from Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and 20th Century Studios. New members who signed up for a two-year contract would receive their first four titles for $1, under the condition they purchase at least five other films for full price for the remainder of the contract, noted Disney Trippers in its review.

Although Disney Movie Club’s prices were often higher than that of physical retail stores or Amazon, the size of its library was unmatched. For fans of older or hard-to-find Disney films that aren’t available to stream, purchasing a DVD from the Disney Movie Club was sometimes the only option to view the film at home (unless they stumbled upon an old copy on eBay or elsewhere). The service also offered extra perks for members, such as special editions or exclusive prizes.

For some Mouseketeers, the writing has been on the wall. Disney shut down the service in Canada last October, citing “declining membership” as a factor. Only a couple of months prior in August, Disney halted production of DVDs and Blu-ray discs in Australia and New Zealand.

Many families and Disney Adults likely replaced Disney Movie Club with the Disney Plus streaming service, which launched in 2019. But since not all of Disney Movie Club’s selection was available on Disney Plus, some fans kept both services. Especially given that Disney and other streamers remove titles on occasion, buying a physical copy of a beloved film or show eliminates the risk it will one day disappear forever. Outside of Disney Movie Club, Disney super fans and collectors commonly turn to Amazon, eBay, or physical media resale sites for vintage or hard-to-find Disney films.

Consumption of physical media has been on a free fall for over a decade, coinciding with the widespread availability of streaming services and digital rentals and purchases. It took a particularly serious hit in 2023. Combined sales and rentals of physical media (including DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and 4K Ultra HDs) dropped by more than a quarter (25.3 percent) last year in the US, according to estimates from the Digital Entertainment Group.

Given that Sony is taking over Disney’s physical media operation, Disney fans in the US will still have some sort of option to purchase DVDs and Blu-ray discs. But it’s unclear what exactly this new offering will look like, and whether Sony will scale back Disney’s physical media offerings or continue to make the same titles available.

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