In late April 2021, social media users circulated a rumor that entertainment company Warner Bros. would start phasing out DVD and Blu-ray Discs in 2022. But the rumor originated from a Twitter post that took a Facebook exchange out of context and blew it out of proportion.
The tweet that was the source of the rumor has since been deleted, but an archived version is still available, and posits that Warner Bros. is doing away with all physical media in favor of digital streaming:
The tweet was picked up by various websites that further spread the rumor, like ComicBook.com, which posted the headline, “Viral Tweet Claims Warner Bros. To Phase Out DVD and Blu-ray Beginning in 2022.”
But just because a tweet has gone viral doesn’t mean the statement it contains is true.
The viral tweet in question contains screenshots from Facebook comments made by animation historian and cartoon producer Jerry Beck, an adjunct professor of animation at Woodbury University, a private college based in Southern California. Along with the screenshots, the tweet said, “Get any WB DVDs/Blu Rays while you can. According to this guy (who regularly works with Warner Archive, their boutique dvd service), Warner will begin to exit that market in 2022.”
The comments from Beck included in the tweet stated:
As of now, there are no plans to commemorate Daffy or Tweety’s anniversaries next year, or ever. The company is slowly transitioning away from physical media. There are no plans for any classic cartoons on DVD or Blu-ray that I know of (except for one project we are in the middle of which may come out later this year…or not). Anything is possible…we’ll just have to wait and see.
It includes both Warner Archive and regular Warner Home Video. You’ll still see some new releases from both during the rest of 2021, but those were planned out last year. Next year (2022) is when this year’s changes will be felt. Yes, the Tex Avery sets sold well enough for the low overhead Archive Collection division. But in the big picture, it’s peanuts…and the focus over there is now on streaming (HBO Max).
But in a phone interview with Snopes, Beck said these comments were taken out of context.
Beck said he was responding to a specific question from a cartoon fan about whether there would be anniversary collections of Daffy Duck and Tweety cartoons in a Facebook thread, and the comments above reflected his own opinion. He didn’t intend the statement to go viral and be lifted from their original context, or to be used as an authoritative source about the future of Warner Bros. DVD and Blu-ray production, Beck told us.
“I don’t work for Warner Bros., I don’t know what’s going on on the inside,” Beck told Snopes. “I was only responding to the fact that from my point of view, I don’t know of any other cartoon releases.”
Beck published a follow up Facebook post to his page on April 23, also stating that his comments were taken out of context:
Wow – I blew up the internet! It looks like a little response I made to a cartoon fan wondering if Daffy or Tweety’s anniversary would be celebrated on DVD or blu-ray has blown up and gone viral.
First of all: anyone claiming that Warner Bros. is planning to phase out DVD and Blu-ray beginning in 2022 has taken my words and blown them way way out of context.
Secondly, I do not work for Warner Bros. – I occasionally work freelance as a writer or consultant to their home video group. I know nothing about the inner workings of that department. A few days ago I was asked a few questions by anxious fans worried about the future of physical media – and unfortunately, from my point of view, I didn’t have anything new to report.
Warner’s IS restoring their classic cartoons for HBO-Max (and to air on MeTV) and its obvious that the streaming service is where the Warner cartoon library will live on for the time being. But, I repeat, I do not know anything about what’s going on concerning their Home Video department.
I do know that DVDs and blu-rays will continue to be produced, and that department still exists. All we can do is hope that they will continue to release their cartoon shorts on physical media. That’s all I know – that’s all I can say about this matter.
We reached out to Warner Bros. asking about the rumor, but didn’t hear back in time for publication. We will update this story when we do.