Disney to Debut Theater Movie on Blu-ray First

The Walt Disney Co. has announced a “first” that other studios and Blu-ray Disc proponents will be watching closely.

In late March, Disney plans to release its hit movie “Bolt” on Blu-ray two days before releasing it in standard DVD.

If no other studio does the same thing in the next couple of months, it will apparently be the first time that the same movie title was released in the 1080p disc format prior to a DVD release.

Standard DVD outsells Blu-ray by a better than 10-to-1 margin, according to what few available sales numbers are known, although in recent months Blu-ray sales have climbed markedly for some titles, notably “The Dark Knight.”

“Bolt,” a computer-animated feature length film, will be available on Blu-ray on March 22; the DVD version comes out on March 24. Industry observers will watch to see if the two-day head start gives the Blu-ray version much of a sales edge (and how well the Blu-ray version continues to sell after both formats are on the shelf).

March 22 falls on a Sunday, while March 24 is a traditional disc release day—a Tuesday. Blu-ray and DVD same-title packaged content typically is released on the same day, and Disney’s strategy depends largely on whether retailers will respect an embargo to not sell the DVD version for an additional 48 hours after the Blu-ray release. Stay tuned.

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