The biggest movie of all time, as the ad keeps telling me, is now available on home video. Only it’s not in 3-D and, well, it may not work.
The DVD and Blu-ray were released yesterday, Earth Day, in order to tie into the movie’s ecological themes, instead of the usual Tuesday. According to the Hollywood Reporter,
Blu-ray sales of Avatar — at 1.5 million copies — well outpaced first-day sales of previous high-def top dog The Dark Knight. An early industry estimate set overall disc sales of the title comfortably north of 4 million units, putting it well on track to become the year’s top-selling release to date.
This was a first-day Blu-ray sales record, even though the disc had minimal special features. The feature-packed version is scheduled for November, while a 3-D version is due out sometime next year, when more homes will supposedly have the hardware gear to support the viewing method.
Unfortunately, the studio was concerned about copyright violation, so in a typically short-sighted fashion, they loaded the disc up with DRM that’s preventing disc playback in some cases. Amazon has posted a note on their sales page:
This edition of the film is not in 3D. Also, we recommend customers with older Blu-ray players update their player firmware to ensure successful playback of this product.
But some customers are complaining that it won’t play, even though their player is up to date. At what point does copyright protection prevent the customer from using the product in the intended manner? I’d argue we’ve already passed that stage, and studios worried about sales figures need to back off a bit.