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|Home: BigScreen Journal - Harry Potter Movies Going "Into the Vault" December 29, 2011 - Get Them While They're Still Available!|
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment announced in October that they will stop shipping the Harry Potter movies on DVD and Blu-ray as of December 29, 2011. If you want the movies on a physical disc (where you don't have to be subject to your Internet connection or the availability of the movie you want when you want it from a streaming service), you have until just after Christmas to pick up a copy. Supplies may be available afterwards, but when they're gone, they're gone.
Disney is perhaps best known for restricting the availability of its movies, where some of their classics are not always available for purchase. This allows them to build up a marketing push when they release them again and to create a sense of urgency when they are about to put them back in the proverbial vault for a time. As an example, try and pick up a copy of Aladdin on DVD, and you'll pay a high price because it isn't currently available in stores (an Amazon seller has a copy for ~$50).
Pulling the Harry Potter movies so quickly after the release of the last movie's debut on home video is curious, but it will probably increase sales over the holidays if people realize that they're not going to be available for long. It may also be an attempt by the studio to spur interest in downloads and streaming options, since the movies will continue to be available digitally.
An article in The Wrap guesses that it might be an attempt to make the movies more attractive to re-release in theaters in the future. That's a distinct possibility, given the recent success of the re-release of The Lion King 3D this fall, but in our opinion, it's going to take some time before audiences will be interested in seeing the movies on the big screen at full ticket prices.
Nevertheless, true Harry Potter fans are going to want to pick up a copy of any movies they don't already have, especially if they don't have them on Blu-ray yet. Warner Bros. is making it easy by releasing the entire series in one convenient box set called Harry Potter: The Complete Collection Years 1-7 [Blu-ray]
If you already have some of the movies and just need to fill out your collection, head over to Amazon.com and pick the titles that you need from their special Harry Potter section.
Bill Hunt at thedigitalbits.com has additional information about the "moratorium" that is happening here, and it's definitely worth the quick read. It sounds like the movies will only be unavailable for 12-18 months, at which time special "Ultimate Editions" of the Deathly Hallows movies will be made available (the current and upcoming releases of the last two movies do not have additional scenes or the extra features at the same level as the previous installments.
While this is good news that the movies will not be gone for 6-7 years, which is what Disney often does with their titles, it also creates a problem of sorts for those looking for the most complete and feature-filled versions of the movies. The "Years 1-7" collection above gets you all the movies in their theatrical editions, but rabid fans are going to want as much as they can get their hands on, and that means the "Ultimate Editions" that are available:
As lucrative as this franchise is, I'm sure that we can expect to see many releases and re-releases of these movies over the years, all with subtle differences, additions, and extras, in the hopes that fans will purchase the movies all over again. Such double-dipping is rampant throughout the history of the home video market; just ask fans of the Star Wars movies!
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