Redbox and Universal Studios Joke!

Image representing redbox as depicted in Crunc...

Have you ever rented a movie from Redbox? I have many times, and mostly on DVD. This was great because I got to watch a number of pretty crappy movies without spending a great deal of money. Sometimes you want to watch something to find out if you like it, before you spend $25-$30 on a Blu-ray pack.

Bly-ray Disc logo

Take Real Steel for instance. This movie was actually pretty good, despite the obvious father-son bonding motif that is often ruined in Hollywood. It took a bit of a different path which I commend. I rented it on DVD to see if I wanted to bother buying it, and if I wanted to spend the extra cash on a Blu-ray bundle. I decided that it would be worth it and bought the movie the same night I watched it. No, it’s no American Gangster (which I also picked up on Blu-ray that night) but it is a special effects heavy movie which lends itself to the medium better than regular DVD.

Universal Studios has decided that you aren’t entitled to see any “bonus features” unless you actually go out and buy their movie. I discovered this after renting Cowboys and Aliens; a movie I would give 2.5 out of 5 stars. I saw it available in Blu-ray for an extra $0.50, which I figured was great because then I could really see it in HD and make a truly informed decision. Well, the movie was a disappointment, but what got me most was the menus and nag screens within the Blu-ray. You actually have to wait for some crud to load, then deal with it reminding you about some smartphone/tablet app that is supposed to “enhance your movie experience.” I just want to watch the damned movie, not try and watch it AND my iPhone at the same time.

Beyond this ridiculous nagging, I discovered that ALL of the special features were locked. Rather than allow me to watch the “making of,” I was treated to this fine little nag screen…

“This disc is intended for rental purposes

and only includes the feature film.

Own it on Blu-ray to complete

your movie watching experience

with additional bonus features

and language options”

A similar message will appear if you try to watch the extended version. In fact, the only thing you CAN access is the movie and the previews for other Universal Studios products and movies. This would not be so bad except for one tiny little detail… Redbox sells used DVDs and Blu-rays after they no longer bring in the expected level of revenues. So eventually some poor sap is going to buy a Blu-ray from Redbox, or Blockbuster (they have blue rental boxes at many locations now) and discover that they got ripped off.

Needless to say, it will be very difficult for me to justify buying a movie from Universal in the near future. I will most certainly NOT be buying Cowboys and Aliens (it’s simply not good enough) and will probably pass on many others as well.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Anyone else think this is all just stupid? The price to go see a movie in the theaters is at an all time high, and that’s before getting any snacks. The discs now have nags and restrictions. The companies make crappier and crappier movies. Is there any wonder why they would have to try and get legislation to block video sites? I mean, there’s only so much we can afford to pay for movies in this economy. Maybe it’s about time that Hollywood figure out that they’d get more sales by dropping the prices just a little bit, or producing better quality movies, rather than trying to sell bonus features.

To be “legal”: I took a picture of the nag-screen with my camera, but I do not claim rights to the contents within said photograph. The rights to those contents remain with the respective copyright holders.

A reminder: The SOPA/PIPA fight isn’t over yet people, it’s just begun.


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