Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

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Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
FormerlyBuena Vista Home Video (1987–1993)
Buena Vista Home Video, Inc. (1993–1997)
IndustryHome entertainment
FoundedFebruary 13, 1987; 34 years ago (1987-02-13)[1]
United States
Area served
Key people
Tony Chambers (EVP, Theatrical Distribution)
ProductsHome media, digital distribution
ParentThe Walt Disney Studios (1987–2018)
Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International (2018–2020)
Disney Platform Distribution (2020–present)
WebsiteDisney Movies At Home
Footnotes / references

Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc.,[1] doing business as Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, is the home entertainment distribution arm of The Walt Disney Company. The division handles the distribution of Disney's films, television series, and other audiovisual content across several home media formats, such as Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray discs, DVDs, and digital media, under various brand labels across the world.

The division was legally incorporated as Buena Vista Home Video in 1987. It was renamed to its current legal name in 1997.[3] The division adopted the current Walt Disney Studios-branding in its public name in 2007, but retained the Buena Vista-branding within its legal corporate name.[4]



Before Disney began releasing home video titles itself, it licensed some titles to MCA Discovision for their newly developed disc format, later called LaserDisc. According to the Blam Entertainment Group website,[5] which has extensive details of DiscoVision releases, only six Disney titles were actually released on DiscoVision. One of these was the feature film Kidnapped. The others were compilations of Disney shorts. The first titles released in 1978 included: On Vacation with Mickey Mouse and Friends (#D61-503), Kids is Kids (#D61-504), At Home with Donald Duck (#D61-505), Adventures of Chip 'n' Dale (#D61-506), and finally The Coyote's Lament (#D61-507) which was released in May 1979. Disney's agreement with MCA ended in December 1981.[6]

In 1980, Disney established its own video distribution operation as part of Walt Disney Telecommunications and Non-Theatrical Company (WDTNT) with Jim Jimirro as its first president.[7] Home video was not considered to be a major market by Disney at the time. WDTNT also handled the marketing of other miscellaneous ancillary items such as short 8 mm films for home movies.

The very first VHS release from Disney

Disney's first releases on tape were 13 titles that were licensed for rental to Fotomat on March 4, 1980,[8] initially in a four-city test (Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose), to be expanded nationwide by the end of 1980. The agreement specified rental fees ranging from $7.95 to $13.95. This first batch of titles on VHS and Beta included 10 live action movies: Pete's Dragon (#10), The Black Hole (#11), The Love Bug (#12), Escape to Witch Mountain (#13), Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier (#14), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (#15), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (#16), The North Avenue Irregulars (#17), The Apple Dumpling Gang (#18), and Hot Lead and Cold Feet (#19); and three of the compilations of short cartoons previously released by DiscoVision: On Vacation with Mickey Mouse and Friends (#20), Kids is Kids starring Donald Duck (#21), and Adventures of Chip 'n' Dale (#22). Later, on December 30, 1980, Mary Poppins (#23) was added to make 14 titles in all.[citation needed]

No new titles were released for half a year after Mary Poppins, but Walt Disney Home Video announced an expanded program for "Authorized Rental Dealers" in December 1980, and began to expand its dealer network during the first part of 1981.[9] From January 1 to March 31, 1981, Disney had a "License One — Get One Free" promotion to encourage dealers to sign up. They also offered free rental use of a 7-minute Mickey Mouse Disco videocassette for customers who rented any title from an Authorized Rental Dealer from February through May 1981.

Disney was unusual among the major studios in offering a program for authorized rentals. Most of the other studios involved in the videocassette market at the time were trying to find ways to stop dealers from renting out their movie tapes. Magnetic Video (with titles from 20th Century Fox and others) ceased doing business with Fotomat after Fotomat began renting Magnetic Video cassettes without authorization.[10] Disney's rental cassettes in blue cases looked completely different from sale cassettes, which were in white cases. That was designed to make it easy for Disney representatives to tell if dealers were violating their dealer agreements by renting out cassettes intended for sale, and it continued until 1984, when they stopped doing so.

In the late-1980s, Disney began seeking other outlets to distribute its video, and decided to ink deals with mass-merchant retailers such as Target, Caldor, and Walmart. In 1989, Disney sought to further control the distribution of its products by eliminating the use of rack jobbers. Around this time, the studio began partnering with major retailers for advertising campaigns.[11]

Buena Vista Home Video[edit]

The name Buena Vista Home Video originated as a label of WDTNT in 1984, originally used to distribute tapes of Hopalong Cassidy. Soon, BVHV became the label utilized for a variety of miscellaneous content; such content included animation not created by Disney (such as Rocky and Bullwinkle and Alvin and the Chipmunks), concerts and other adult music titles, and various special-interest programs, including The Very Best of The Ed Sullivan Show. Eventually, Buena Vista Home Video was incorporated on February 13, 1987.[1] The "Buena Vista" name was adopted from Buena Vista Pictures Distribution,[4] who also acted as copyright holder for tapes released directly under the BVHE banner.

In November 1992, Buena Vista Home Video entered into a worldwide joint venture with Jim Henson Productions to form Jim Henson Video, which distributed Henson-owned material, including various Muppet productions; the company had previously distributed Muppet content in the United States from 1983 to 1985 under the Muppet Home Video label.[12] This lasted until 1998, when the company moved to Sony Pictures' Columbia TriStar Home Video division.

In July 1993, Buena Vista Home Video signed a multimillion-dollar multiyear North American licensing deal with DIC Entertainment. The deal included over 1,000 half-hours worth of animated content from DIC, alongside the creation of a dedicated home video label and interactive and multimedia opportunities. This deal lasted until 2000, following DIC's sale by Disney,[13] with DIC later signing a deal with Lions Gate Home Entertainment in May the following year.[14]

In April 1996, due to ongoing realignment stemming from Disney's merger with Capital Cities/ABC, Buena Vista Home Video was transferred out of the Disney Television and Telecommunications group to The Walt Disney Studios.[15] In August 1996, Disney and Tokuma Shoten Publishing entered a deal wherein Buena Vista Home Video would acquire the worldwide home media distribution rights to the Studio Ghibli animated films.[16][17] Disney would go on to produce the English dubs and distribute 15 of Ghibli's films, through the Walt Disney Pictures, Buena Vista Home Video, Miramax and Touchstone Pictures banners.[18]

Buena Vista Home Video was renamed Buena Vista Home Entertainment in 1997.[3] The BVHV name continued to be used on actual releases into 2002; by that time, Power Rangers, Digimon, and Marvel Comics animated television series owned by ABC Family Worldwide also began to be distributed by the company, taking over from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment after Disney's acquisition of Fox Family Worldwide and Saban Entertainment in October 2001. BVHE also became the label of choice for releases of live-action TV shows produced by Disney (under the Touchstone Television name) or by ABC; such releases were promoted as TV on DVD.

In 2005, Roger Corman-owned production company New Concorde signed a distribution deal with Buena Vista Home Entertainment, giving BVHE home video distribution rights to 400 Corman-produced films, including the pre-1984 New World Pictures library until 2008.[19][20][21][22]

As part of a broader company-wide effort, Buena Vista Home Entertainment dropped the "Buena Vista" branding in 2007 and was renamed as Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.[4] However, the division retained Buena Vista as its legal corporate name. In July 2013, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment acquired the distribution rights to the four Marvel Studios films, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger from Paramount Pictures, including the home media rights to those films from Paramount Home Entertainment.[23][24] In July 2017, GKIDS acquired the North America home video rights of the Studio Ghibli films from Disney.[25][26] In March 2019, Disney acquired 21st Century Fox, and after 20th Century Fox was renamed to 20th Century Studios in January 2020, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment was folded into Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment a few months later that year.


The company currently distributes digital media, Blu-ray discs and DVDs under many labels across the world.[27]

Current labels[edit]

Other labels[edit]

Third-party distribution deals[edit]

Former labels[edit]

Former distribution deals[edit]

Moratorium practices[edit]

Disney is notable for implementing a longtime moratorium practice on its film library, known in the industry as the "Disney Vault".[31] Disney has stated that this practice of moratorium is done to both control their market and to allow the studio's films to be reissued for subsequent generations of viewers.[32] This practice was extended to the 20th Century Fox library, after its acquisition by Disney in 2019.[31]


The company also licenses its live-action film catalog (mostly lesser known titles) from the Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, 20th Century Studios and ABC libraries to companies like Kino Lorber and Shout! Factory. The company formerly licensed some of its libraries to other companies like Anchor Bay Entertainment, Lionsgate Home Entertainment,[33][34] Gaiam, BCI Eclipse (for the 1980s animated television series Dungeons & Dragons and 2006 Touchstone Television-produced television series Day Break), Echo Bridge Home Entertainment (for ABC-produced television films), Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (for Lifetime libraries), MGM Home Entertainment and Mill Creek Entertainment. It had also licensed a very small number of its film library to The Criterion Collection, notably Michael Bay's Armageddon, Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs, and a handful of Wes Anderson's filmography which also includes recent titles like The Grand Budapest Hotel as these are Searchlight Pictures titles.

Animated features[edit]

Disney released Robin Hood on videocassette for the first time in 1984.

The first of the Disney animated features canon to be released on videocassette was Dumbo on June 28, 1981,[35] for rental only. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was released for rental and sale at the same time. Alice in Wonderland was released on October 15, 1981, for rental only.[36] Fun and Fancy Free was released in 1982 as 'Fun and Fancy Free' Featuring: Mickey and the Beanstalk, to capitalize on the best-known segment of the film.

Walt Disney Home Video[edit]

The original logo, nicknamed "Neon Mickey", used on Walt Disney Home Video releases from 1978 until 1986.

Their agreement with DiscoVision having ended in 1981, Disney began releasing LaserDiscs under the Walt Disney Home Video label to their own network of distributors and dealers. The first five titles were shipped in June 1982: The Black Hole, The Love Bug, Escape to Witch Mountain, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Cartoons, Collection One. Five more titles shipped in July: Pete's Dragon, Dumbo, Davy Crockett and the River Pirates, The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band, and Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Cartoons, Collection Two.[6]

Disney released more cartoon compilations (pre-Walt Disney Cartoon Classics in 1983) in late 1981, including Goofy Over Sports and A Tale of Two Critters.

Dumbo was released for sale on tape in summer 1982, while Alice in Wonderland was released for sale in November 1982.[37] The next major animated feature to be released (excluding the "package" anthology features) was Robin Hood on December 3, 1984, starting the Walt Disney Classics collection. By 1982, all the video releases were for sale and rental, along with newer releases, but at high prices.

To market these new video releases, the company produced an exclusive promo seen after various Disney video films. The promo was nicknamed "Walt Disney and You" by fans for the customized tune in the promo. The promo also featured clips from the various releases and ended with a video-freeze of the then-current Walt Disney Home Video opening sequence (known as the "Neon Mickey"; a screenshot from this can be seen above). This promo was also used for other non-Disney labels such as Touchstone Home Video.

On July 16, 1985, it saw the home video premiere of Pinocchio which became the bestselling video of that year. Later, the 1985 Making Your Dreams Come True Promotion started on November 6, 1985 with repackaged live action titles and Dumbo was released on the same day as well.

Disney targeted produced the Walt Disney Video A Longs and Disney's Greatest Lullabies collection of videos for their children. The series hit stores in January 1986.

Disney later produced the Disney Sing-Along Songs collection of videos for young children in association with Harry Arends and Phil Savenick. The series first hit stores on October 14, 1986.

Disney DVD[edit]

Disney DVD is the brand name under which Buena Vista Home Entertainment releases its Disney-branded motion pictures. Disney began working on title releases for DVDs in 1997, although they were not released in this format in the UK until early 1998. Disney's first U.S. DVD release was Mary Poppins on March 1, 1998. VHS releases ceased with Bambi II, which was released on February 7, 2006 (However, Disney continued to distribute new titles on VHS through the Disney Movie Club up until February 2007 as other studios backed away). The brand launched a loyalty program called Disney Movie Rewards in October 2006. Participants can collect points by submitting ticket stubs from Disney feature films, "magic codes" from Disney home video purchases and Disney CDs. The points can be redeemed for prizes like games, DVDs, books, posters, and collectibles.[38]

Tinker Bell became Disney DVD's mascot, who appeared in animation logos until 2014, and as of 2014, there is no more on-screen logo, starting right at the warning screen of the era.

Platinum Editions[edit]

The Platinum Editions are a line of special edition DVDs released by Disney. Originally, the line comprised the company's ten best-selling VHS titles and was released in October of each year. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first film to receive this honor in 2001. The two following titles, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King were both released in IMAX and other giant screen theaters during the holiday season before their October DVD releases. Due to underperforming box office results, this tradition was terminated after Aladdin. In May 2003, Disney announced that they would be adding the next four best-selling titles to the collection. Starting in 2005, a Platinum Editions was released in October and February/March. Another tradition practiced for these releases were gift sets, containing supplements such as original animation sketches, a film frame, and a companion's book.

The complete list of Platinum Editions includes: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 2001, Beauty and the Beast in 2002, The Lion King in 2003, Aladdin in 2004, Bambi and Cinderella in 2005, Lady and the Tramp and The Little Mermaid in 2006, Peter Pan and The Jungle Book in 2007, 101 Dalmatians and Sleeping Beauty in 2008 and Pinocchio in 2009. The original plan for the Platinum Editions was that they would be released ten years after they are put in the Disney Vault. Since then, this time has been shortened to four to seven years.

Diamond Editions[edit]

Beginning with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in October 2009, Disney began re-issuing Platinum Editions titles under a new Diamond Editions classification on Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack seven years later.[39] Some of the later titles also received Digital HD releases.

Signature Collection[edit]

Starting with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in February 2016, Disney began re-releasing their Platinum and Diamond Edition titles under the 'Walt Disney Signature Collection' moniker.[40] All of these editions will be released on a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack and will also receive an early Digital HD release prior to a physical copy. Some titles (mainly films from the Disney Renaissance era) also received 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray releases.

Disney Blu-ray[edit]

Disney Blu-ray is the brand name under which Buena Vista Home Entertainment releases its Disney-branded motion pictures in high-definition. In late 2006, Disney began releasing titles, like the Pirates of the Caribbean films, the National Treasure films, and the first two Narnia films on Blu-ray.

Disney Blu-ray 3-D[edit]

In late 2010, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment began releasing their movies in the Blu-ray 3D format, starting with A Christmas Carol and Alice in Wonderland. As of 2014 however, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released only specific movies on Blu-ray 3D in North America, including but limited to Pixar movies, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, Cars, Up, Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Brave, Monsters University, Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur and Finding Dory. In 2017, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment quietly discontinued releasing new titles in the format in North America, presumably due to the declining interest in the 3D format at home in the region. The last two titles released, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 were both released in limited quantities as retailer exclusives (with the former being only available at Target and Best Buy, and the latter only available at Best Buy). Despite this, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has continued releasing new titles in the format in other regions.

Disney Second Screen[edit]

A new feature that was included in the Diamond Edition of Bambi on March 1, 2011,[41] "Disney Second Screen" is a feature accessible via a computer or iPad app download that provides additional content as the user views the film.[42] Disney Second Screen syncs along with the movie, and as the film plays, interactive elements such as trivia, photo galleries, and animated flipbooks appear on the iPad or computer screen.[43] It is currently available in the United States and English-speaking Canada.[44]

Ultra HD Blu-ray[edit]

Disney began releasing their new films on Ultra HD Blu-ray starting with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on August 22, 2017.[45][46] Christopher Nolan's The Prestige was Disney's first catalog release on UHD, under the Touchstone label in 2017.[47]

Some of Disney's 4K UHD titles have been released outside of the United States, Canada and Latin America (excluding Brazil), nearly all of them have been released in European countries, such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Australia, Scandinavia and Japan.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Used for Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Disneynature, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, and Disney Television Animation products. Previously known as Walt Disney Home Entertainment (1978–1980 and 2001–2008), Walt Disney Home Video (1980–2001) and Disney Videos (1995–2005, Non-US regions).
  2. ^ Used for non-Disney and Buena Vista International products, and was also used for Touchstone Television and ABC Family shows until 2007, as well as the Power Rangers franchise until 2010 in a few countries, alongside a few other Non-Disney properties. As of 2010, this label is no longer used in the United States but remains in use outside the US (including Japan) and as the copyright holder. Previously known as Buena Vista Home Video (1984–2002)
  3. ^ Previously known as ABC Studios. When known as Touchstone Television, DVDs and VHS's used the regular Buena Vista Home Entertainment label.
  4. ^ Previously known as ABC Family, although some ABC Family branded DVDs were distributed by Gaiam under license. Before 2007, DVDs and VHS's used the regular Buena Vista Home Entertainment label.
  5. ^ Used for 20th Century Studios, 20th Century Animation, Blue Sky Studios (now defunct), Searchlight Pictures, 20th Television, 20th Television Animation, Touchstone Television and FX Productions products. As of 2020, this label is no longer used as the main company, but remains in use as the copyright holder for the aforementioned products. Previously known as Magnetic Video, 20th Century-Fox Video, CBS/Fox Video, Fox Video and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
  6. ^ Previously known as ESPN Video. Only some releases from ESPN are distributed by WDSHE. A majority of ESPN Home Entertainment releases were previously distributed by Genius Entertainment and Team Marketing DVD, alongside other companies.
  7. ^ Known as Touchstone Home Video until 2001.
  8. ^ Formerly Hollywood Pictures Home Video (1991–2001)
  9. ^ After Disney sold off Miramax, the company's releases are now released under the standard Miramax brand, licensing its titles to Echo Bridge Home Entertainment from 2011 until 2014, Lionsgate Home Entertainment in the United States and StudioCanal internationally from 2011 until 2020, and Paramount Home Entertainment from 2020 onwards (expect for Canada).
  10. ^ Post-2005 films released under this label are released through The Weinstein Company and its own home video distributors as Dimension Home Entertainment.


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  2. ^ Magiera, Marcy (December 11, 2013). "MacPherson, Marinelli, Tarantino Inducted Into Variety's Home Entertainment Hall of Fame". Variety. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "BUENA VISTA HOME ENTERTAINMENT, INC". Corporation & Business Entity Database. New York Department of State. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Fixmer, Andy (April 25, 2007). "Disney to Drop Buena Vista Brand Name, People Say (Update1)". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on September 18, 2011. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  5. ^ Young, Blaine. "MCA DiscoVision". Blam Entertainment Group. Retrieved September 19, 2006.
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  26. ^ D'Anastasio, Cecilia (August 10, 2017). "GKIDS Takes Over U.S. Studio Ghibli Distribution From Disney". kotaku.com. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  27. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (July 18, 2019). "ESPN's Justin Connolly to Lead Combined Disney Sales Team". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  28. ^ Lang, Brent (July 11, 2017). "Annapurna, 20th Century Fox Sign Multi-Year Home Entertainment Pact". Variety. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  29. ^ Lieberman, David (July 11, 2017). "Fox Picks Up U.S. Home Video Distribution Rights For Annapurna Releases". Deadline.com. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  30. ^ "Warner Bros, Pathé Strike U.K. Distribution Deal". June 7, 2021.
  31. ^ a b Zoller-Seitz, Matt (October 24, 2019). "Disney Is Quietly Placing Classic Fox Movies Into Its Vault, and That's Worrying". Vulture.com. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  32. ^ "Buena Vista Home Entertainment: A Very Lucky Accident Indeed". Animation World Network. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  33. ^ "Lionsgate Adds ABC DVD Titles". August 12, 2008.
  34. ^ http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/irol/62/62796/pressreleases/ABC_Studios_Press_Release.pdf
  35. ^ "(Title unknown)". Billboard. August 15, 1981.
  36. ^ "Disney releasing six video titles". The Globe and Mail (United Press International). October 14, 1981. p. 15.
  37. ^ Wollman, Jane (September 16, 1982). "A wider selection in children's video". The New York Times.
  38. ^ K. Arnold, Thomas (April 5, 2007). "Studios keep spotlight on DVD". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  39. ^ Disney's Blu-ray Diamond Collection - Press Release. UltimateDisney.com (September 10, 2009). Retrieved on 2013-08-09.
  40. ^ Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Walt Disney Signature Collection Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Review Retrieved on 2017-05-12.
  41. ^ Landy, Tom (December 10, 2010). "'Bambi (Two-Disc Diamond Edition)' Blu-ray Fully Detailed". High Def Digest. Retrieved December 20, 2010.
  42. ^ Snider, Mike (February 24, 2011). "Second Screen creates a 'Bambi' for multitaskers". USA Today. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
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  44. ^ Lawler, Richard (December 8, 2010). "Disney announces Bambi Blu-ray/DVD combo for March 1st, debuts new Second Screen PC/iPad app". Engadget. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  45. ^ Landy, Tom (July 4, 2017). "James Gunn's 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Coming in August". High-Def Digest. Archived from the original on July 4, 2017. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
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  47. ^ The Prestige 4K Blu-ray, retrieved June 24, 2018

External links[edit]