**Warning: This post contains language that may be offensive to some readers, discretion advised.**
Dear movie industry,
I went out this week to purchase some new movies and even though it has been a long time in the making, the movie industry has simply gone too
Why, you ask?
A DVD costs less than $.50 cents to produce- that is by my personal calculations mind you. Most likely it is far less than that even with cover art etc… but more on that later in the post.
It costs on average $19.99 for a DVD. Why? For a while I understood, the DVD had commentary and features and deleted scenes- some even had
blooper reels. That adds up and I get spending $20 bucks on THAT, however, Slowly it has transitioned to “hey, buy this $22-$24 DVD special edition with a lot of crap”. You buy it and there are two discs, one has the movie and all the “special” crap and the other… is a digital copy of the movie you just bought.
In this day and age it is easy to watch things on the go and I get that there is an audience for that but why do we have to pay extra for another copy we don’t need just to get special features or the cut of the movie we want? Then they hit the market with 3 disc editions, one disc with the movie, one disc with bonus features- most of them hardly warrant taking up a whole disc (at less than 1G of info at times) and then… a digital copy of the same damn movie you just bought- you know, for friends.
This trend started with the release of Live free or Die Hard. I wanted the “director’s cut” because that version had swearing, I’m sorry but Die Hard without the phrase “Yippey Ki Yay Motherfucker!” is simply not right. In the edit they bleeped the MF with a gunshot, come on people- what happened to R rated action movies? Yes, more sales with PG13 but you drain the life out of it that way. Kids will find out how to get into your movie no matter what the MPAA rates it- they cannot stop everything. But that is another story in itself. (Do yourself a favor and Rent “This film is not yet rated”)
(Bruno no likey)
Now we get DVDs with stickers on them saying “buy bluray and get the most out of your movie”. These “new DVDs” sport only the feature and MAYBE a commentary if they feel like it. Seldom do they even have printed artwork on the disc (mostly grey rental discs ready for netflix) and most have stopped even giving you an insert with the track listing. To top it all off they are trying to reduce plastic and they BARELY give you a DVD case that you can safely store your purchase in, because now the “case” has cut outs where the disc sits. You know, so when you drop
the case you have the possiblility for maximum damage to your purchase. But hey, you can just buy another one right? Money trees are plentiful and fertil- indeed.
The same thing happens to TV DVD sets- IE: The Simpsons. Cardboard sleeves that scratch the hell out of the disc and hardly do anything to protect. It is not just about flashy packaging- some people want to keep the DVD that they buy longer than a week.
We are a disposable society but some of us still want value for our money.
But they don’t stop with cheap packaging…
Recently, Warner brothers initiated a 28 day hold on their new releases in association with netflix rentals. Their intent is to drive up sales.
They think that if a new release comes out and nobody can easily rent it they will sell more copies of their $20 DVD/ $28 Bluray- and they may be right.
What they fail to realize is that some people, such as myself, rent before buying. I am not going to run out and buy a movie for that price without watching it. So now in a sense they are punishing their customers, forcing them to buy or try to find one of the last physical rental locations to watch their movies.
I had to go to Blockbuster to rent two warner movies. On the receipt it said that I could own the movie if I paid $15 more on one and $17 on the other, after paying $3.50 plus tax for each rental that would make it over $20 per title- no thank you. I enjoyed both films and would like to buy them, however, I will not be buying them now. I will wait and buy them used online for a fraction of the cost. As of now the two titles that I had my eye on are around $10 online and the prices are still droping daily. Once they get around $5 its go time.
They have now forced me to change my habits with watching movies so I must also change my buying habits.
It was also recently announced that Fox and Universal would be doing the same thing. They have perks like an expanded watch it now category but I fail to see how that would do any good- most movies that they are adding are not that good. There are a lot of crap watch it now movies on netflix already, do they need more?
I feel like the studios would do better if they kept their customers in mind and standardized their DVD sales. Sell just the film for $10 DVD/ $15-18 bluray. Then if you want bonus features tack on another $5. If you want a digital copy another $5 and so on. Build your own DVD- Here is what we have available- pick what you want. They could make up any difference in the volume of sales. Plenty of people would buy a single title just to watch the movie for $10- even impulse buyers. Remember VHS? No special features and $15 was okay with everyone. And then the movie geeks can get their extras for a reasonable upcharge. People should not have to convert to HD to get special features. But that is where they are going with it.
Having a choice in what you buy could possibly encourage you to spend more money. As an example I think of the “Special Edition Director’s cut” version of Rob Zombie’s Halloween vs. the “Theatrical cut”. I bought the “Special Edition Director’s cut” thinking that I would get both versions of the movie since I paid more, No. There was the feature as Zombie intended and a bonus disc with features. I go to find the “Theatrical cut” which for me was a better version but if I found one in any store it was Full Screen and $25. Never. I ended up tracking a copy down on Ebay for about $10 and when I got it sure enough there was a feature disc which looked like a rental- very cheap. There was also a bonus disc, this one had fancy screen print and- wait a minute- was the same damn disc that was included in the “Director’s Cut”.
The studios should make it possible for you to buy what you want in your DVD, not force you to go find another copy of the film and pay a premium for the version you like but you end up getting another 2 disc set that comes with the version of the film you want but also an exact copy of the special features you already got with the “Director’s cut’. If you get the “Ultimate Edition” it should be “Ultimate”, it should have everything. I get what happened with Star Wars- Lucas. They are going to keep releasing multiple “Special Editions” even after he becomes one with the force. They are releasing a BluRay edition of “The Star Wars” pretty soon but if they will have the original version of the trilogy remains to be seen. Most likely they will release the special ones that the die hard fans hate and then a year or so later they will unleash the originals as a bonus like they did with the DVD. But the horrible thing about it is that people keep buying them.
Then there is this…
The studios are very protective of their works, and that makes sense but is it that serious of an offense?
At the beginning of each movie we see…
Here are some interesting facts:
-Misusing a Social Security number: A maximum penalty of five years in federal prison without parole and a fine up to $250,000.
-Tax fraud: maximum penalty of three years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.
-Pleading guilty to abusive sexual contact: The maximum penalty upon conviction is three years in prison, a $250,000 fine
So it is okay for the studios to rip off the consumer, but when the tables are turned you are no better than someone that steals identities, cheats on their taxes and abuses others sexually?
I am not saying to download movies online for free, I am saying that this “epidemic” was caused by the movie industry and as one of the options I would like it if we could skip the pity party and focus on the real problem- greedy actors and the studios that give them everything they want.
Studios need to draw the line on salaries. One of their ad campaigns showed a key grip talking about how he had been laid off because there was so much piracy. No sir, you were laid off because Tom Cruise needed another gold plated humvee- thats why. Tom Cruise was paid for his roles in Valkyrie and Tropic Thunder… 30 million. Surely they could have paid good old Saul the Key Grip a few thousand dollars for his work. No, if Mr. Cruise does not have his humvee no couch will be safe.
(The only salary that I feel is justified was the one Harrison Ford was paid for Indiana Jones and the kingdom of the crystal skull… 65 Million, for being raped on screen. Should have been more.)
So where do we go from here? I say stop buying all the crap they are selling. If you have to have the movie wait it out a bit and look at the used DVD section- you would be very surprised what other people take back to the store. I have purchased a LOT of DVDs used and most of the discs looked brand new- not even a scratch. If you really like a movie try renting it first, yes they still get money from that but not as much as you buying it from the store. If you want to buy it give it a month or so and you will start to see the price for the used copies drop as more new movies are released. And if you start to feel bad for the actors- don’t. Imagine if you were given 30 Million dollars for 3-4 months of work. Now stop drooling… Think about how Tom Cruise’s stunt man might get paid up to $70,000 in an entire year to do the stunts (wearing a neon green hood that is later digitally replaced by the likeness of Mr. Cruise) that make the movie look cool, and it is hard to do that after Mr. Cruise has worked at the fudge factory all day. Plus the stunt man has to join a union and pay dues to ensure food is put on the table.
Enjoy your “Super-Mega-Ultimate- Omnipotent-Fancyschmancy- collector’s Edition DVD/BluRays” because pretty soon you will have to buy the 3D version of the movie to get special features, and the 3D TV, and the 3D glasses, and the smell-o-vision card.
But what do I know? I’m just a simple cave man- your evil high definition talking boxes confuse and frighten me.
So again, Movie industry- Kindly Suck it!