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Request widescreen Muppet Movie DVDs

Disney is planning on releasing four Muppet Movies in pan-and-scan only. Let them know you want the films in widescreen with a 30% bigger picture.

By Greg James
August 22, 2005

First, the good news: Disney is planning to release the movies “The Muppet Movie”, “The Great Muppet Caper”, “Muppet Treasure Island” and “Muppet Christmas Carol” completely restored and remastered on DVD later this year (November 29, 2005 to be exact) in honor of Kermit the Frog’s 50th anniversary.

Now the bad news: they are planning to release all four movies in full frame (aka "pan-and-scan") ONLY, not in their original widescreen format. This has been confirmed by the official Disney press release.

For some reason, Disney has decided to release full frame versions on many "family" films. However, a full frame DVD doesn't present the movie as it was intended to be seen. A lot of stuff is cut out of the film, and this unnecessary cropping causes the picture’s composition to look cramped, less exciting and less eye pleasing. In the case of the Muppet movies, this will result in about 30% of the on-screen Muppet magic to be removed. The folks who created the movie designed it to be shown in widescreen; would you want to have paintings by Van Gogh chopped off so they fit into the frame you had handy? You can find out more about the differences between widescreen and full screen in this article by James V. Carroll.

In 2002 Disney first released "The Muppet Christmas Carol" and "Muppet Treasure Island" on DVD in pan-and-scan. Hundreds called and e-mailed Disney is disgust (including the upset director of both films, Brian Henson, who was upset about his films’ treatment), it seems Disney did not learn from their past oversight.

If this matters to you, contact Disney and let them know that you want – no, that you demand - your Muppets on DVD in widescreen. See below for more information.

Contact Disney/Buena Vista at 1-800-72-DISNEY (1-800-723-4763), and send e-mail to disneyinfo@disneyhelp.com.

If you call they'll ask for your home address and e-mail addresses. This is to make sure you're a real person and haven't called 100 times before to say the same thing. Providing the information adds weight to your complaint, but if you're concerned about privacy, ask them what they'll use the address for before giving it to them (and express your concerns about privacy). You may want to consider including your “real” address in your e-mail as well.

When you contact Disney, remember:

Be polite. Your feedback is less likely to have an impact if you insult, swear, rant, etc. Don't use derogatory terms like "pan and scam" to refer to the full frame DVDs. Remember, Muppet fans are nice people!

Tell them you're glad to hear they're releasing the four Muppet films on DVD to commemorate this 50-year milestone, but be firm about your disappointment as a DVD buyer and Muppet fan. Explain what you want, and why you want it.

Mention specific titles (in this case, “The Muppet Movie”, “The Great Muppet Caper”, “Muppet Treasure Island” and “Muppet Christmas Carol”) that you will not buy because they are not widescreen.

After that, you can mention that you won't buy other Disney titles that aren't in their original theatrical presentation either, and if you've got them, mention how much you enjoy your current set of widescreen Disney DVDs.

If you've got kids, be sure to mention that, since Disney reported angle on this is that these are “family” films and “families” don't like widescreen.

Contact Disney NOW and let them know you want these classic Muppet Movies in widescreen on DVD. Things may not change for these releases, but with enough support hopefully future Muppet releases will be properly treated, and maybe a second wave of "widescreen editions" will be produced in the near future.

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