When you stop and think about it, the "Disney Vault" is every bit as sinister as its histrionic name implies.
According to doctrine, Disney's policy of releasing its most sought-after classics for a limited period only, before withdrawing them for years at a time, is designed to keep its roster of animated hits fresh for each "new generation of two- to seven-year-olds". It's a spirit of discovery, then, that motivates the Disney Vault, and not the millions that can be accrued by re-releasing the likes of The Little Mermaid on pricey Limited, Platinum and Diamond Edition DVDs.
Initially, Disney was reluctant to release its back catalogue on home video at all, hoping instead to continue the lucrative practice of reissuing its best-loved films theatrically every seven years. The 1980s VHS boom put paid to that idea, but the corporation has since moved across newer formats in such a way that ensures its properties remain elusive. Disney films typically last only a year or two on Netflix before they disappear, and their availability varies widely by region. Right now, Netflix US is enjoying something of a 90s revival, with Hercules, Pocahontas and Mulan, while the UK service leans heavily towards newer hits such as Tangled and Toy Story 3.
This week, Disney re-releases 24 of its most beloved films in a special "Villains" collection, carefully timed to coincide with the release of the new blockbuster Snow White reboot Maleficent.
Each film comes complete with a limited-edition slipcase featuring such notorious animated wrong-uns as Peter Pan's Captain Hook, Aladdin's Jafar, and, er, those Siamese cats from Lady And The Tramp. The full collection on Blu-ray will set back Disney completists a little over £200, ensuring these animated classics stay fresh for a whole new generation of (extremely wealthy) two- to seven-year-olds.
Disney, Blu-ray & DVD
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