Despite support from other major Hollywood studios, the largest of the Big Six still has yet to release a 4K Blu-ray. Thankfully, that’s soon set to change, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 set to be the first film from Disney released in the format.
Disney has been quite bullish when it comes to cinematic technologies, having supported both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos in the theatrical release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Many of its other films also include those technologies, in fact the two Dolby formats made their theatrical debut with Disney Pixar’s Brave back in June 2012. Unfortunately, when it comes to home media, Disney has been a little slower.
Lionsgate Films, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Universal Studios and Warner Bros have all released 4K Blu-rays, and have even added Dolby Atmos to some of their releases. Many of those studios are now beginning to bring Dolby Vision into the fold, with Universal Studios’ Despicable Me having been the first 4K Blu-ray with Dolby Vision. Disney has thus far snubbed all the major formats on its home media releases.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 will mark a distinct change in Disney’s strategy, however. The film’s director, James Gunn, reportedly pleaded with the company to release the film on 4K Blu-ray. Given the success of the franchise at the box office, it’s likely that Gunn’s word holds a bit of weight at the studio.
Speaking in a Facebook post, the director notes: “Yes, it’s true, and I am UNBELIEVABLY EXCITED to announce that, after a couple of years of me begging and pleading, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will be coming to home video in 4K UltraHD. It will be the FIRST Disney release to be released that way.”
While a release on 4K Blu-ray has now been confirmed, Disney has yet to release details as to whether it will also support certain HDR or 3D audio formats. Given the film’s Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos theatrical release, theoretically it would be easy to include those on the 4K Blu-ray, although rumours from Disney is that the company is waiting on the format to garner more support from consumers. Given only a few select devices work with Dolby Vision, and the number one TV maker in the world, Samsung, has yet to add it to any of its TVs, it’s not a surprising stance for the company to make. Most of the TVs now on the market now support HDR10, however, which is expected to be supported by this release.
While Dolby Vision and Atmos has not been confirmed, Gunn did confirm that the 4K Blu-ray will support 3D. Given support for 3D is lacking on many 2016 and 2017 generation TVs, that’s an odd inclusion.
With D23 Expo just around the corner, Disney fans will be hoping to see more films from the studio released on 4K UHD Blu-ray. A listing on EZYDVD suggests that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales will also get the 4K treatment.
Given Disney’s practice of limiting the release of many of its films, the so-called Disney Vault, it’s possible that the next batch of films to be re-released from the vault could support 4K Blu-ray. A new Star Wars film coming out at the end of 2017 could also be the perfect timing for the first Star Wars 4K Blu-ray release.