Disney is quietly converting “The Lion King” to 3D and readying a double-barrel blitz of the 3D version of “Beauty and the Beast” in theaters and on Blu-ray next year, according to a knowledgeable source.
Even though the studio has delayed the theatrical release of the 3D version of “Beauty and the Beast” by at least a year, the conversion has been completed on the project for a little while now. Twenty minutes of converted scenes were exhibited publicly a year ago at the D23 Expo, which received a very strong reception. The movie was slated for theatrical release on Feb. 12 but shortly after the underwhelming theatrical re-release of a 3D double-feature of “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2″ last fall, the studio pulled “Beauty and the Beast” from the theatrical schedule.
Meanwhile, the first Blu-ray edition of “Beauty and the Beast” was announced for Oct. 5, but no 3D version there either. (The studio has been a little unpredictable with its 3D Blu-ray strategy — announcing a 3D Blu-ray version of “A Christmas Carol” for Nov. 16 but no 3D version of “Toy Story 3″ with the Nov. 2 Blu-ray of that title and no 3D versions of any of Disney’s other 3D titles from “Chicken Little” and “Nightmare Before Christmas” to “Bolt” or “Up.”)
The unofficial word from the studio about the theatrical delay was that Disney wanted to rerelease it during the movie’s 20th anniversary year in 2011. Insiders say that worked out conveniently to give the non-3D Blu-ray release this fall enough of a sales window before the movie came out in theaters next year, which will then set up a holiday 2011 release of the 3D Blu-ray version of the movie. It’s not unlike Fox’s even tighter windowing of “Avatar,” first on Blu-ray April 22 and then a theatrical rerelease in late August to be followed by an as yet unannounced “Avatar” special edition Blu-ray in November (and a quiet 3D Blu-ray release on Dec. 1 exclusively with purchase of Panasonic equipment) and an eventual retail release of the “Avatar” 3D Blu-ray in 2011.
Meanwhile, it’s encouraging to hear that Disney still feels strongly enough about 3D and converting its library titles that it has set to work on the studio’s modern-day masterpiece, “The Lion King.”
Aug 31, 2010
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