Disney has some of the highest prices in the home video industry, but they’ve been counterbalancing that with coupons, and — more importantly — combo packs that contain every format you could possibly want in one package, to make sure you can play your movies anywhere, anytime. All that has changed with Oz the Great and Powerful, the half-billion dollar spring blockbuster hitting Blu-ray on June 11.
Instead of the usual 5-way combo pack, film’s 3D Blu-ray release, as we reported last month, includes only the 3D disc and the digital copy, without even a DVD version. There simply isn’t a package including both 3D and 2D Blu-rays, and according to Blu-ray.com’s Ken Brown, while the 3D disc has 2D playback enabled (as is required by the spec in an absence of a standalone 2D Blu-ray), it will not actually work on 2D players. Disney hard-locks its 3D disc to 3D players only, and it looks that either someone didn’t get the memo to change that, or the reps are misinformed.
But that’s not the only sand in the eye on this release. 3D owners who like the options Disney combo packs bring are positively furious over paying the same, very high prices, for less content:
I sincerely hope that this doesn’t become a trend in Blu-Ray, but I’m not surprised that Disney is doing this. The 3D Blu-Ray and 2D Blu-Ray are separate releases. This wouldn’t be a huge problem if the cost wasn’t the same as previous releases that combine both. But unfortunately they are. Yep, if you want to own both the 2D and 3D Blu-Rays of this movie on Amazon as of now, it will cost you $63.
This benefits no-one, not even Disney, as owning a combination of both 2D and 3D was an incentive for 2D watchers to upgrade to 3D
A lot of people I know who don’t have 3D TVs buy the combo packs, assuming all being equal, as a future-proofing exercise. They can’t watch the 3D version now, but they know they will be able to in the future, next time they ugprade TVs. The idea of paying Disney’s already offputting high prices for half of the product is going to stick in the craw of a lot of people, and the idea that the 3D disc is locked to 3D players no matter what dimension you’re watching in is, in a word, stupid. Disney is essentially setting the 3D version up to fail, pissing off the 3D fans who probably don’t have a 3D player attached to every TV set, locking out the future-proofers, and that’s before telling us we should pay full price for half the versions. Even the Blu-ray only version of the film — with no included DVD — is retailing, on sale, for nearly $30.
Now if this lockout is not true, Disney needs come forward and announce as much very quickly, and inform customers the disc is playable in 2D players. And for goodness’ sake, they need to lower the price. Otherwise any money they hope to gain is likely to go out the window, and the 3D version will bomb out completely.
Hopefully we’ll receive a clarifying statement, and a revisit of the product’s pricing (or at least offer some generous coupons), as June 11 draws closer.