I know I maybe in the minority now with this but I actually still rent movies from a brick-and-mortar type store. It’s partly because it’s a five minute walk to the store and partly because I hating waiting for a movie to come out on Netflix (because in Canada, that movie will never ever get to Netflix). I’m ok even getting movies from a store even it means I have to get off my butt to go to the store and then off my butt again to return it.

I have noticed, however, a disturbing new trend from the movie studios. The studios are now releasing “rental” versions of movies which are completely stripped down versions of the home release that you might get in a regular store. For example, I rented Jackass 3 tonight and it was one of these bare-bones editions. The disc contained the movie and no other extras. The retail version of this movie, however, is a two-disc set with outttakes, a making of special, and other goodies. I would have liked to see that stuff. Instead, I got nothing but the movie.

It didn’t used to be like this. Home releases used to the be same no matter where you got them, either from a rental store or say Wal-Mart. There wasn’t this distinction between a rental version and a store-bought version. Now I have a pretty good idea why the studios decided to do this. It’s clear they want me, as the consumer, to buy the retail release of the movie instead. Movie studios make nothing off rentals beyond the money it initially cost the rental store to buy the disc. If one disc allows say 50 people to watch the movie and all the special features, that’s 50 people that didn’t have to pay the whole price for the release. The studios sees lost revenue there.

Unfortunately for the consumer, the movie studios have taken away something that people have been accustomed to and have expected for years. When I get a Blu-ray home, I expect to see the movie and all the extras that are available for that movie because that’s what I’ve been given all these years. I’m now getting less entertainment but the movie rental hasn’t gone down to match that. I’m now paying the same amount of money for less in return. That doesn’t seem fair but sadly the movie studios have the right to do this.

Caught in the middle of all this are the rental stores. I’m pretty sure they weren’t pushing the studios to make this change. After all, what kind of company wants to give their customers less when their costs remain essentially the same? I can’t see these “rental” version being that much cheaper for the rental stores. I’m guessing the studios basically force the stores to buy these new versions and don’t give them the option to buy anything else.

Well, if all I’m gonna get in the future is just the movie at the rental place, I can think of another alternative where I can “just get the movie” and not even have to leave my home nor pay a single penny for it.

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