Ralph Breaks the Internet and the Future of Disney 3D Blu-Rays

Around a year ago, Disney quietly stopped releasing 3D Blu-rays in the United States, even though it's still releasing high-profile 3D movies at the box office around the world. Now, with the upcoming arrival of Ralph Breaks the Internet (a.k.a. Wreck-It Ralph 2) on home video, it may be that Disney could be done with releasing 3D Blu-rays everywhere. Read on ....

When Disney stopped releasing 3D Blu-rays in the U.S., this decision wasn't officially announced to the public; the discs just stopped appearing in domestic stores and online distributors. Thankfully, Disney 3D Blu-rays are region neutral, so 3D buffs could still order new Disney 3D Blu-rays from distributors overseas. (Zavvi is my personal choice for this kind of purchase.) When Ralph Breaks the Internet arrived in theaters in 3D last November, 3D fans were looking forward to seeing this sequel on 3D Blu-ray. However, even though Ralph Breaks the Internet is scheduled for home video release on February 12th, there is no sign of this film being available on the 3D Blu-ray format--just the standard 2D Blu-ray and 4K UHD formats.

There has been plenty of speculation among 3D aficionados about why this is, since Disney is as tight-lipped as ever. Some think that this marks the end of Disney's run of all 3D Blu-rays, while others think that Ralph Breaks the Internet isn't getting a 3D Blu-ray simply because it underperformed at the box office. Further complicating this speculation are market projections that suggest the decline of physical media in the face of on-demand media streaming. The disappearance of 3D Blu-rays would be especially devastating to fans of restored titles from the golden age of 3D films in the 1950s. After all, the 3D Blu-ray was the format that allowed for the restoration and distribution of classics such as House of Wax, Kiss Me Kate, It Came from Outer Space, and many more; without 3D Blu-ray, the 3D versions of these films would probably have remained lost to the public.

Do you like watching this guy in 3D from the comfort from your own home?
Thank the 3D Blu-ray format!

To be sure, Hollywood is not giving up on 3D movies. 15 movies are going to be released in 3D in 2019, and 12 are scheduled for 2020. Disney's decision to reduce its distribution of 3D films on home video can likely be attributed to the primary reason why 3D films were ever made at all: to get people away from their TV sets and into the movie theaters. While this decision is unfair to 3D fans who want to add more titles to their personal 3D collections, Disney (and probably other entertainment companies) see the discontinuation of all 3D Blu-rays as a way to boost ticket sales for 3D movies. I'd appreciate it if studios would at least tell potential audiences ahead of time whether a 3D movie that's showing in theaters will be released on 3D Blu-ray or not; however, as we're seeing now with Ralph Breaks the Internet, I'm not expecting studios to be that courteous.

Nevertheless, as the electronic media landscape keeps changing due to the internet and portable digital media players, Disney may have an ulterior motive for ending its 3D Blu-ray content. It could be that Disney plans to distribute all of its 3D content via its upcoming streaming subscription service, Disney+. By completely ending 3D Blu-ray production now, Disney will further whet the appetites for potential subscribers when it releases 3D content on the Disney+ service later. Furthermore, Disney+ will probably be accessible through Vive and Oculus VR headsets, which are ideal for playing 3D content.

Even though there isn't a 3D Blu-ray for Ralph Breaks the Internet, there is something called Ralph Breaks VR, an interactive 3D experience that had been rolled out to select VOID Experience Centers last November. If Disney+ does end up having a VR component, I would expect both the 3D version of Ralph Breaks the Internet and a scaled-down version of Ralph Breaks VR to be featured on there at some point.

Related Products:

Ralph Breaks the Internet Action Figure Wave 1 Case Ralph Breaks the Internet Power Pac Mini-Figure Wave 2 Case Wreck-It Ralph 2 Ralph Breaks the Internet Official Guide


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