Star Trek: Into Darkness INDEED
This past tuesday, Paramount released Star Trek: Into Darkness to home formats, including DVD, Blu-Ray, and various digital markets. Not surprisingly, retailers, both physical and digital, received exclusive content, packaging, and bonus sets to try to snare consumers. This is certainly nothing new, but Paramount’s handling of this, one of their biggest releases of 2013, has given its name some much added weight, and irony.
In the USA, Star Trek fans have no less than seven different packages of the movie to choose from. You have your 2D, 3D, combo packs available at every store, and from there, things get ugly. Target, Bestbuy, and Walmart all have their own special versions of the movie to offer, each with their own bonuses. Now, having exclusive extras is done with practically every major release these days, but STID (It sounds like a fancy disease!) takes things one step further. This isn’t a case of everyone getting the same set of bonuses with one retailer snagging a special bonus featurette. Instead, they just cut the bonuses right down the middle between Target and BestBuy. Sure, everyone is still getting some 30 minutes of features, but the vast majority of what are usually home release norms have been excluded to be part of these retailer exclusives. On top of that, many of the exclusives require using online services to access them, with some being nowhere in sight on this side of the hemisphere. For example, all signs point to Australia being the only territory to get deleted scenes and Germany as the only country to get the IMAX version of the film. What about Walmart? They get a Hotwheels model of the Vengeance. I have not seen this model in person, so I cannot comment on its quality, but its Hotwheels, so don’t hold your breath.
This isn’t the first case of such a wallet sucking spread of features. It makes me remember some of the other blatant cash grab lashings of the consumers major home releases have pulled off in the past. Remember Avatar? That movie’s first home release really took advantage of people waiting with bated breath, as it was only the movie. People that couldn’t wait shelled out 30 dollars, and got the barest of discs. It wasn’t until months later a new 2 disc set was released with bonus features, and it was even longer still before a 3D release came out.
Another example is the Harry Potter Ultimate edition releases. These blu-ray and DVD releases came in large book style cases. Year 1 through 7. Rather than have each year’s set include special features for that movie, however, they instead had each one include all of the features of a certain type for all eight movies (or however many had been released at that point). This baffling choice was only made worse when WB abandoned the idea of extended cuts of the films after the 3rd year of these releases, making movies 4-8 the same old deal you saw in the theaters.
So, Star Trek: Into Darkness has take a new spin on a very old trick, one that could stand to further alienate an already divided fan base. This treatment of the fans, and yes, something this is only hurting the fans, as basic consumers aren’t going to care, really is taking the series Into Darkness. Retail Darkness.