“The Little Mermaid” will be released in 3D this fall after all, but on Blu-ray instead of theatrically on Sept. 16 as previously announced. The Blu-ray 3D will likely be on Oct. 1.
And there will be no Disneynature film this April for the first time in five years, 3D or otherwise.
One had to suspect that since Disney announced the theatrical release of a 3D version of “The Little Mermaid,” that the 2D-to-3D conversion process was well underway, if not nearly complete.
So, when Disney recently announced that the studio was scrapping those theatrical release plans, the natural question was, what about completing the conversion and releasing it on Blu-ray 3D?
Raising the question further was the printed promotional material inside the new Blu-ray Diamond Edition of “Peter Pan” featuring a full page ad for “The Little Mermaid” in 3D on the cover of the booklet, billed as “coming this fall.” The same ad ran on an inside page of a similar booklet inside the sleeve of “Monsters. Inc.” Neither ad indicated whether the movie was coming to movie theaters or Blu-ray. The tiny print at the bottom of the ads indicates the movie is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment but that doesn’t mean much since sometimes the home entertainment divisions of studios are the entities that release the movies for a very limited theatrical run as part of the marketing campaign for their subsequent Blu-ray release. A video trailer for “The Little Mermaid” in 3D on “Peter Pan” was equally vague about its release venue.
Disney executive and producer of films such as “Beauty and the Beast” and the recent “Frankenweenie,” confirmed to me Wednesday night at the 3D Society’s Creative Arts Awards that “The Little Mermaid” conversion was indeed well along in the process. Although he did not know about home video plans, he agreed that it would be a helpful boost to the format to release the movie exclusively on Blu-ray 3D.
A Disney spokesman confirmed to me Sunday that the movie will be released on Blu-ray 3D this fall. Yahoo Movies is showing a release date of Oct. 1 for a Blu-ray Diamond Edition of the movie. The date is listed next to a 90-second trailer that does not show a date and says nothing about 3D, but only that the movie will be “for the first time ever in High Definition.” But another trailer we found (below) promotes the movie as being in 3D for the first time ever on Blu-ray 3D, but it is not called the Diamond Edition.
Meanwhile, Hahn also told me that there will be no Disneynature release on Earth Day this April for the first time since the franchise was launched in 2009. The next scheduled release is “Bears” on Earth Day in 2014.
— By Scott Hettrick