Fox, Disney and Universal are taking special features off rental DVDs. Is this a problem?
Fox blazed the path, Disney has done it and now it looks like Universal is following along. The studios are removing special features from DVDs and Blu-Rays intended to be rented. So now when you go to Blockbuster to rent Scott Pilgrim vs the World you’ll get just the movie, not all the commentaries and documentaries and other special features.
A guy at Hacking Netflix (via Consumerist) complains:
I didn’t pay $3.99 to just watch the movie itself; I paid $3.99 to rent the physical DVD for a week. To have full access to the entire DVD and everything contained within the menus. What made it worse was that Blockbuster gave me absoutely no warning that the DVD had its Special Features locked. There was no warning label or sticker or anything of the sort.
I agree that there should have been a label or different cover for a special features-free edition, but I haven’t been to Blockbuster to check for myself. It’s quite possible that the box makes no promises of special features - I take internet forum complaints with a major grain of salt. And I don’t know that you’re paying to rent the retail DVD, especially if the box makes no promises that what you’re getting is the retail DVD. Sometimes you just gotta pay attention.
I don’t particularly mind that new release rentals are coming without features; the DVD market is in the shitter and the studios will do whatever they can to make money (and yes, they’re trying to make money. That’s the business they’re in). Of course we live in an entitlement society, where everybody thinks they deserve everything for cheap or free. 4 bucks to watch a movie at home sounds pretty reasonable; it would be nice to get the features, but for 4 bucks how can you complain?
Professionally I see this being a headache for me - I rent movies to watch features and listen to commentary as research. I can’t afford to buy every single movie I write about. But whatever, that’s a pretty major first world problem and I’ll probably find a solution. At some point they’ll start offering the ‘complete DVD’ rental for another dollar or something. Hell, I tend to stream movies from Netflix or Xbox these days anyway, so I rarely ever see special features except when I buy DVDs/Blus.
What do you think? Are you OUTRAGED that the studios want you to buy DVDs?