Blockbuster - a bad policy

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by marc paolella, Jan 23, 2003.

  1. marc paolella

    marc paolella Auditioning

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    I have noticed lately that certain DVD's are being released for sale in wide-screen or full-screeen, but for rent only in full-screen.

    Examples are Bourne Identity and About a Boy. Oddly these are both Universal Pictures releases.

    This is completely unacceptable. I will be boycotting any DVD released in fullscreen only. At the very least it should be a menu choice or Blockbuster should offer both formats for rental.

    Especially now that big-screen TV's are becoming so popular.

    To me this is a giant step backwards.

    To Columbia Pictures and Blockbuster: If the DVD is fullscreen only, I will not rent it. I advise others to complain and follow the same policy.

    -Marc
     
  2. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Hi, Marc! Welcome to HTF.

    There have been lots of discussions about this. In the current marketplace, dual releases for sale seem to be the rule, rather than the exception. And the consensus on rental seems to be that policy varies from store to store in the Blockbuster chain. Some seem to stock only fullscreen, others stock only widescreen, some probably stock both.

    I know in my town, we don't yet have a Blockbuster (one is under construction), but we do have a Movie Gallery which used to stock only fullscreen. However, in the past few months they seem to have done an about-face and are now stocking only widescreen on most titles where there are two different versions. Then there is also a local chain video store which stocks both versions so people can have a choice.

    I would recommend that whenever you're in Blockbuster to rent a film (some are still released in widescreen only), that you be sure and let them know all the titles you'd like to rent, but won't because they're "modified" from their original versions. When Movie Gallery was stocking only fullscreen versions, I would make my 1-2 widescreen selections from those available, then select about a half dozen fullscreen films that I wanted to rent. I'd then stack them all on the counter, telling the staff "I'd like to rent all these, but I don't watch fullscreen. So, I guess I'll only take this one." Now they have all widescreen. Coincidence?
     
  3. Benson R

    Benson R Supporting Actor

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    This is probably gonna be moved but I thought I would chime in anyway.

    Complaining to the store employees at blockbuster never really seems to go anywhere. Complaing to store managers sometimes works but I believe them when they say they just get what corporate sends them. Writing letters seemed to work at first but they seem to have come to the conclusion they we just represent a very vocal minority.

    I think we need to have another very concentrated letter writing campaign. Our letters need to combat the notion that satisfying us pisses off the rest of their customers and is there for not worth it for them.

    I think we need to make clear that joe public may complain about renting Spiderman in widescreen but he will still rent it there no matter what. People like us may be the minority but we watch many times more movies, not just the big releases, and if a title is in not available in widescreen we plain will not rent it at blockbuster and will buy the title, sometimes sight unseen, instead.
     
  4. chris_m_white

    chris_m_white Stunt Coordinator

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    The rental situation at Blockbuster is very frustrating. The stores closest to my house are very inconsistent in regards to dual widescreen/fullscreen releases. For example, they only have the fullscreen version of Insomnia, but they only have the widescreen versions of Spider-man and Attack of the Clones. This rationale makes no sense to me since I would think if they are stocking fullscreen versions for "the masses" then they would get fullscreen for the so called big releases.

    I would stop renting at Blockbuster, however they have good deals that I'm able to take advantage of (2 for 1 deals, or rentals for $1.99). They also have a larger selection than the Hollywood Video that's close to my house.

    Speaking of Hollywood video, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they stock the widescreen version of a movie whenever there is a choice. That, coupled with their 5 night rental policy makes them my rental place of choice, although their catalogue titles are very lacking.

    I've thought about using Netflix, but can't justify spending $20/month and not being gauranteed of getting what I want, when I want. Plus I don't like their policy of 2 disc DVDs counting as two rentals.

    Basically, I used Hollywood Video for new releases, and Blockbuster for older titles, or when a movie is released only in widescreen (like Signs).
     
  5. Qui-Gon John

    Qui-Gon John Producer

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  6. Benson R

    Benson R Supporting Actor

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    My point was that blockbuster seems to have come to the conclusion that they get more complaints from people who hate black bars. I understand why they would want to appease the majority of their customers, it makes business sense. However I think they are missing that the minority here that wants widescreen may make up a proportionatly larger part of their business and these customers will not only complain if widescreen is not available but also not rent from them.
     
  7. Robert Floto

    Robert Floto Supporting Actor

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    My Blockbuster is only carrying full-scream and pan & scam versions of Bloodwork, Unfaithful, and The Bourne Identity, so I asked to speak to the manager so that I could lodge a formal complaint.

    Ramone, the manager, turned out to be an OAR enthusiast himself, but explained that people complain if the film has "black bars," and others complain if the film isn't OAR. No one in their store orders movies, but this is how the corporate office decided to go...and shipped the aforementioned travesties.

    I mentioned that even though people might complain if a film has "black bars," it will not stop them from renting it. But on the other hand, if people specifically ask for the OAR versions and they are not available, they will most likely not rent anything...and will probably just go somewhere else. So, given the choice between pan & scam or OAR...Blockbuster made the wrong business decision. Ramone agreed, and took down my formal complaint.

    Then I did what I had foreshadowed...I went to my local Hollywood Video. It's not walking distance like Blockbuster, but not that far...just far enough that I had not rented from them before... Upon entering, I was happy to find out that their rentals are about a $1.00 cheaper than Blockbuster, and that even their NEW rentals are for five days! Also, if you rent a new movie and bring it back in 24 hours, they credit your account for $1.00! That makes new DVDs around $2.00 less than Lackluster!

    This impressed me greatly...but not so much as the fact that (at least my local) Hollywood Video DOES NOT carry full-screen copies of DVDs for rental (unless there is no OAR release)! I praised the clerk and told them that they have all my movie rental business from now on.

    The clerk replied..."Uh, thanks."
     
  8. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Screenwriter

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    I also noticed this and am equally outraged, if not more so!

    But I was bad. I really, Really, REALLY wanted to see About a Boy and was forced to rent the Full-Screen copy because that was all they had. But I wasn't happy about it! [​IMG]

    And I used to work for Blockbuster and I can promise you that any complaints delivered to management or store employees more often than not never moves on.
     
  9. marc paolella

    marc paolella Auditioning

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    You're forgiven Nate, since comedies are the least offensive when released full-screen. I, too, rented About A Boy but was vexed. However, Bourne Identity I saw in the theater and it's a "big" film. No way am I renting it even though I liked the movie. I'll wait and buy it used on E-bay in a few months.

    The thing that burns me about Blockbuster is that the DVD Pass program is so economical that I really can't consider other video stores.

    For $22.99/mo I can rent 3 DVD's a day every day. Furthermore after every 6th rental, I can get a free additional rental. Further, Monday thru Wednesday you rent 1 movie and get one free. And that's even if you're already using your DVD pass. So I can walk out of the store with 7 movies. It's really quite ridiculous.

    At this point, I'm only limited by how much time I want to allocate to sitting in front of the TV. All I can say is Blockbuster is losing money on me big time. I average about 30-40 rentals a month and only pay $22.99.

    Maybe HTF members should organize a picket at one of the midtown Manhattan Blockbusters and leak our plans to the local media. We can haul banners around and demand our rights to the black bars of artistic truth. Panned and scanned be damned!


    -Marc
     
  10. Qui-Gon John

    Qui-Gon John Producer

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    Marc, I guess the DVD Pass is a limited thing. Down here in So. Fla. I have not seen it, or I would probably use it too. Although the last 2 weeks now I have taken advantage of the rent 3 for $9.99. Then since I'm a Gold Rewards Member I also get 3 non-new releases with that for free. Now if they would only change their definition of non-new release to something more reasonable. Currently they consider it a new release for a frickin year!
     
  11. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Screenwriter

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    Thank you Marc. It's nice to know my actions were forgiveable.

    But it also bugs me, because they have this great sale on previously-viewed DVDs, and I'd stock up, but there are titles that I want that are full-screen only! Is there an end to this madness?
     

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