Disney Movie Club Subscription Service to Shutter This Summer

The platform provided exclusive titles on Blu-ray and DVD and heavily discounted catalog content for 23 years

Strange World
"Strange World" (Credit: Disney)

Disney announced today that it was shuttering its Disney Movie Club, a Columbia House-like service that provided exclusive titles on Blu-ray and DVD and heavily discounted catalog titles.

“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,” the official statement read. While Disney gives the closing date of July 20, patrons’ last day to order anything is May 20.

Launched in 2001, the Disney Movie Club was, ostensibly, a subscription-style service for those who wanted the latest and greatest in Disney physical home video. Every month you’d get sent the latest home video release, usually festooned with extras like lithographs or collectible pins.

But the Disney Movie Club served an essential, often overlooked secondary function, which was that they released hard-to-get and often forgotten films on physical media exclusively through the site. This means everything from movies that they probably could have made money on, like “A Goofy Movie,” to truly obscure treasures like “Blackbeard’s Ghost,” “The Boatniks” and, incredibly, “The Black Cauldron,” a mainline Walt Disney Animation Studios title only available through the Disney Movie Club. (“Strange World,” one of the more recent Disney Animation titles, was only available in 4K through the Club.)

What makes the closure of the site so heartbreaking is that some of these titles aren’t even available on Disney+, which was sold as the home for all hard-to-find and classic Disney movies and television series. Once the site shuts down, it’s unclear if some of these titles will make their way to Disney+ or will be reissued elsewhere, of if they will simply be gone forever.

And while home video has seen a decline, it’s very clear that the physical home video market has a lot of runway in terms of catering to collectors and serious movie fans. Recent physical media releases like “Oppenheimer” and a deluxe anniversary edition of “Clue” selling out across multiple retailers, while Best Buy has chosen to eliminate its physical media sales and Target diminishing their footprint in physical media.

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