After reading Bill Hunt’s rant over at The Digital Bits about Paramount’s decision to split the special features for its upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness blu-ray amongst retailers, Star Trek fans may want to reconsider buying the title now. In short, if you want all the content created for this release, you need to purchase the blu-ray at Target and Best Buy (if you live in Canada, or download the title from CinemaNow in the US), as well as download a copy from iTunes for the director commentary. Don’t ask about the various physical retailer exclusives (Wal-mart has an amazing Vengeance 1:50 scale model). As Hunt notes, Paramount seems to forget that its duty should be first to the consumer, and not the retailer. Though I suppose the latter pays better.
While the practice of retailer exclusives remains a familiar standby for Paramount (I recall that Mission: Impossible 4 bonus disc which could only be found at Futureshop), the tactic of splitting bonus content between retailers seems entirely counter-intuitive. Cases and physical bonuses (like Starfleet badges and Enterprise models for the last Star Trek movie) are one thing, but when it comes to disc-based content consumers already purchasing a premium format at a premium price should be treated to a premium selection of content at a reasonable premium (astute readers will notice a pattern developing here in my rant). It would be one thing if Paramount offered all of the additional bonus content as an extra disc (as Touchstone did with the War Horse 4-disc blu-ray) and then gave consumers the choice to pay the premium (roughly $10 more in the case of War Horse), it is quite another to require customers to pay upwards of $100 to receive all of the supplemental content created for a particular title. Moreover, all of the content created for this release pales in comparison to the material created for Paramount’s 2009 blu-ray release of Star Trek. I hasten to add that there the voluminous special features were all provided on a single bonus disc as the sole blu-ray edition–which Paramount seems to have discontinued in favour of a single disc sans extras! For Star Trek Into Darkness the customer can purchase the title on DVD, on blu-ray, on blu-ray 3D, as a digital download, and still not receive all the content. When studios treat their films like prostitutes customers tend to perceive those films as such–and the studios, by extension, as shameless pimps. Behold then the syphilitic corpse of Star Trek and lament for the ennobling enterprise envisioned by its glorious future is without doubt a dream consigned to the past.