I think my first go around with the Disney Movie Club worked pretty well. I wound up getting 9 Blu-ray movies for $90 total and with the Disney Movie Reward points from those plus some others I got two more Blu-ray movies free: Tarzan and Hunchback of Notre Dame, two movies towards the end of the Disney Renaissance of the 1990s. I also learned I could have played it a little better by buying pre-orders or feature titles instead of full priced commitment selections, since they usually sell those for $5 less. That would have brought my total down to $80 after paying for both commitment titles.
I would like to do it again because it is such a good deal, and I started a list of movies I would like to get, but I could never get the 6 or 7 titles for the enrollment (5 movies for a dollar plus 1 for $11.95 that counts as a commitment, and an optional 7th movie for $8.95, leaving 2 more commitments to buy at full price later). Before I cancelled my membership last year, they started taking pre-orders for Pinocchio, which hasn’t been available for years and the new release would be a “Signature Edition” which includes Blu-ray, DVD, and a Digital HD version, along with extra content, I would think. The first Signature Edition they did was Snow White, which I bought in the first round and enjoyed. The second was Beauty and the Beast, but I already had a really good version of that one on DVD that also included an unfinished draft preview of the movie that was shown at a film festival to raves from critics. Beauty and the Beast went on to become one of the only animated movies ever nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture (later they put animated movies in a separate category). So I would like to have gotten Pinocchio, which surprised me by rising to the top of the list I made of most acclaimed Disney movies, but I thought I would wait. Typically when a movie is first released on DVD, the movie club has it available as a pre-order that puts it in your hands by the day of the release, then it is available for purchase for club members (sometimes as a feature title which may or may not include a discount, and sometimes as part of a double feature with another movie with some kind of discount), but usually takes three months before it shows up as an enrollment choice. With Pinocchio being a re-release I am not sure how long it will take for it to become an enrollment choice, but I am assuming three months. Meanwhile, Moana was released to theaters and was pretty good, so I wouldn’t mind owning that when it comes out on Blu-ray, and Rogue One turned out to be really good too, so I would like to get that when it is released (both in March), but if Rogue One is like The Force Awakens, it would never be available as an enrollment title. Therefore if I was going to have to get Rogue One as a commitment purchase I kind of needed to sign up before its March release in order to get the $5 discount (plus they would throw in a lithograph, of dubious value, but because it exists why wouldn’t I want that for free?). However, Pinocchio probably won’t be an enrollment choice until April, so if I want to get that, maybe it needs to be my other commitment title that I could pre-order and get a discount and lithograph.
Two of the titles on my list of possible future picks were Zootopia and Finding Dory, but I wound up getting really good deals on both of those on Black Friday, lower than the $9 or so average price from the movie club. That left me scrounging for more titles. One thought was to get Blu-ray versions of some of the DVD’s I have already. In addition to Beauty and the Beast those titles are Toy Story 1 and 2, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles. In November, Pixar released new versions of those Blu-rays which included the Blu-ray and Digital HD version instead of the earlier releases which included Blu-ray and DVD (these re-releases were available as enrollment titles almost right away). I like the idea of getting the Digital HD versions to watch on a laptop or tablet and it works out well since I already have the titles on DVD anyway: now I could have all three formats.
- Beauty and the Beast
- Toy Story
- Toy Story 2
- Toy Story 3
- Mary Poppins
- Jungle Book (2016)
I succumbed to getting the Signature Edition of Beauty and the Beast. And I got the duplicates of Toy Story 1 and 2, and then figured I might as well add Toy Story 3 since I didn’t have it yet (a fourth is coming out in 2019). Also I got Mary Poppins, which I have never seen all the way through (I don’t think) and haven’t been that crazy about what I have seen, but it is a Disney classic and has a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, despite Dick van Dyke’s fake cockney accent being universally accepted as one of the worst of all time. Also I had seen Saving Mr. Banks recently, which is about the making of Mary Poppins. Not a great movie, it did get my curiosity up. Pixar’s Ratatouille was always on my list, but I never got around to getting it, partly because it did not include a Digital HD version, but the newest release includes that now. And I really wavered on 2016’s live action version of Jungle Book, but decided to go ahead and get it after reading some good reviews, liking the voice cast, and seeing it even made a few critics’ Top 10 lists (though not nearly as many as Zootopia). All seven movies come with Digital HD versions and 3 of 7 include DVD disks. I steered away from getting titles that did not include the Digital HD version since I feel like that is becoming the norm and future releases will include it, so I will count on re-releases of movies like The Princess and the Frog (coming in February) that I would like to have but don’t want to miss getting the digital version. I already own 4 of the 7 on DVD, so there is a lot of duplication unfortunately. Also, not much new since I have seen all or part of all the movies except the new Jungle Book (saw the original though).
Once I signed up, I went ahead and pre-ordered Pinocchio at the discount before that goes away. And I almost certainly will pre-order Rogue One as well, but I feel like I can wait a while just in case something better comes along. One of the deals with the club is when you order one movie at full price, you can get additional movies at 40%, 50%, or 60% off depending on that month’s offer (usually 40% for members who haven’t bought their commitment titles yet, while 60% is for VIP members who have already gotten their commitment titles and can quit the club whenever they want). Those discounts usually don’t bring the price down to the $9 average price, but sometimes they have sales on movies and you can still add the discount. For instance Mary Poppins is on sale now and after the 40% discount would be $11.97.
I’d like to get Moana eventually, but I don’t know when that will happen (maybe Black Friday?). And I can put The Incredibles and Finding Nemo in my list of possible future enrollment picks. But Disney will not release any of their own animated features this year (they did two in 2016: Zootopia and Moana) although Pixar will release two: Cars 3 in June and Coco in October. Disney will continue releasing two Signature Editions of older movies on Blu-ray per year, probably Fantasia, Bambi, or the The Lion King later this year and in 2017, but I don’t know if I want those, but they are all highly rated. There will also be a new Star Wars in theaters in December. So this might hold me for a little while and I could see me signing up again maybe next year. Meanwhile, I might use the points from the enrollment selections to get Hercules for free from Disney Movie Rewards.
I was looking at the 2016 movie box office totals and Disney properties dominated with the top 3 grossing movies of the year and 6 of the top 10 grossing movies of the year: 1. Finding Dory, 2. Rogue One, 3. Captain America: Civil War, 5. Jungle Book, 7. Zootopia, and 10. Dr. Strange. And they also had No. 12 which was Moana. I doubt they can pull off something like that again: they only had 4 of the top 10 in the previous 3 years. So I think part of the reason for all of my purchases is Disney had a particularly good run lately.