On “Oz the Great and Profitable,” 3D Stands Alone

Sections: 3D, Movies

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Oz 3DDisney’s new Blu-ray solicitations for Oz the Great and Powerful introduce what is either the start of a dangerous trend, or an experiment that is bound to backfire, depending on your point of view. No longer is the 3D edition the catch-all, awesome edition, providing you with four different formats in which to enjoy the movie. Instead, with Oz, 3D now stands alone, with the close to the same SRP as previous 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/digital editions, but without the 2D Blu-ray or DVD.

As a 3D fan myself, I realize that not everyone likes stereoscopic viewing, and heck, even I don’t always want to watch the Blu-ray 3D, which is what makes these expensive uberpacks something worth buying. The problem, though, from Disney’s point of view, stems from the fact that there are a lot of people making a lot of money off of them. With coupons, you can get these discs from Amazon as low as $20 on release week, and people will do that for the superior cover art and bonus material, and then turn right around and sell the 3D disc on Ebay for $15-20. If they piece out the the DVD and the digital copy, too, such consumers often probably even come out ahead of the game. Rentailers like Family Video actively sell off the Blu-rays from combo packs, and sell UltraViolet codes for $5 apiece to boot, so this is certainly not isolated to enterprising individuals.

The problem I have with Disney’s approach to this problem is price. If you’re going to charge me the same money for a stripped down, 3D only Oz as I paid for the deluxe four-format Wreck-It Ralph, that’s a problem. Even if it had UltraViolet instead of a disc-based, iTunes-locked digital copy, I still wouldn’t like it. Yes, Disney is losing out on a bunch of cash to these moochers, no question. While I don’t have a good solution to the problem, if the 3D standalone version were priced at $29.99 retail with a street price of $15-20 for the first week, I’m pretty sure that that would cut the knees off of the re-sellers.

What Disney is doing here, though, is endangering 3D as a format. Our own Dennis Burger often buys the 3D Blu-rays of movies he wants, not so much for the 3D — which he hates — but for the total package. And I would imagine many collectors do the same. That puts more 3D discs in homes, and perhaps even encourages more people to give stereoscopic viewing a try. It’s an option, and options are nice, even for those of us who love 3D.

We’ll see how Disney reacts, or whether this is just a typo when the official press release for Oz the Great and Powerful comes down the PR pipeline in the next few days. But given that the cover artwork is already out there, that doesn’t seem likely.

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  • jeff

    oh nooooooo say it isn’t so!!!! if this is true lets hope for a retailer exclusive that includes EVERYTHING? Best Buy or Target????

    • jeff

      if something needs to be cut out or omitted or singled out for individual sale… I say DVD!!! Bluray or Bluray 3D collectors will almost never use or miss the DVD copy

  • John

    From a consumer stand point, this is a bad move on Disney’s part. How well any particular package sells is not going to really tell Disney much about consumer preference. They will draw erroneous conclusions, while also dis-incentavizing people about about buying 3D.

    I don’t have a 3D TV, but have picked up a few 3D combo titles because they were actually a better deal than just the 2D version. Since my son recently got a 3D, 55″ LG (and BTW the best picture I’ve seen on a 3D TV, bar none) with passive glasses, and my wive has started talking about getting a larger (and 3D capable) TV for the living room, I’ve been looking at buying more 3D combos.

    However, with this kind of move on the part of Disney, I’m having serious reservations about spending more for a 3D TV.

    A lot of people are still using DVDs. I say get rid of digital. Who needs those? Ultraviolet has been an expensive boondoogle that no one I know uses. iTunes is there for those who just want digital anyway.

    • Jeff Kleist

      This is not about the cost of the discs in the box. The total cost of a full 5-disc uber-mega Blu-ray combo pack to roll off the line for a company that does Disney’s mass quantities is only a few dollars (plus whatever fee they pay to Apple for activation of the DC).

      If anything, this is an experiment by Disney to see whether 3D owners will pay the premium, and how much it drives the purchase of the combo packs over the 2D version. The 3D spec requires 2D ability, which Disney has skirted till now by including the 2D disc in the box, so hopefully Disney will unlock the 2D this time.

      If you think UltraViolet is a boondoggle, then you’re not looking at the big picture. UV is the backbone of the entire digital media future, allowing you to sync your collection across devices and services. Amazon and Microsoft, the two biggest non-Apple providers of digital movies are getting ready to have full integration, and Wal-Mart’s Vudu, Best Buy’s CinemaNow, and WB’s Flixster already have full integration. Apple’s movies are locked down to their devices, and as their grip slips on the larger world of entertainment, they’re eventually going to be forced into supporting it, as is DIsney, whose abandonment of KeyChest and cutting of deals with other media providers indicate that they’re at least open to the idea.

      Frankly, my biggest concern about this is that they’re going to jack the 3D buyers out of extras. If the 3D version has 2D enabled, and contains the extras, I don’t think we’ll see the kind of rebellion we will if there’s just a 3D-only disc and a disposable digital copy in there

  • Jeff

    very good point John…the other thing I thought of is w stand alone 3DV BluRay release is fine with me as long as the disc includes ALL the bonus content and extras that typically have been served on the standard BluRay disc (or on some cases on a included second Bonus feature only disc included in the set — so basically i’m fine with this move as long as 3D lovers are gypped out of bonus content — the studios need to really take a look at who is buying BluRay, BlyRay 3D DVD etc. in my view most folks have invested in and are interested in 3D technology and building a home library are the folks who are movie buffs and desire and enjoy the bonus features experience as much as watching the movie vrs someone like my sister who simply just wants to watch the movie (on DVD or RedBox) and still has not upgraded to Blu