The Future of DVD and Blu Ray Packaging (Part 2)

17 Dec

In a previous article we discussed some of the misunderstandings regarding differences between the promotional missions of posters and DVD’s and Blu-ray packaging options.  Satisfied that these media address entirely different missions we can move forward. Though the same film may feature in both campaigns, we have to accept that the promotion of first run films is extremely different than the secondary market and promotion of home video sales. The winners in one may not necessarily be the winners in another.  It may be startling to recognize that a story telling vehicle has become more of a product than an attempt to build a unique narrative experience. Stopping at that transformation makes it difficult to recognize what the new package design configurations may mean in the seduction and captivation of audiences.  1. Along the way I intend to address what considerations occur in trying to motivate audiences to come to theaters versus those considerations that have them bring the video into their homes on a long-term basis.  2. Review how film production departments or stations might change their goals in the process of achieving these marketing agendas.  And 3. Discuss what package design configurations end products may take to overwhelm audiences regarding the original narrative experience.

Why are we going to do this? Because the phenomenon shows how different the landscape is for film production crews when producing blockbuster films or large “tent-pole” experiences for audiences.  After the war at the box office the battlefield immediately switches to one on store shelves.  When a film studio, producer or directors intend to create one of these experiences, audiences have to understand that the emphasis is primarily on marketing a film.  This retail agenda is different from the film’s initial goal of captivating audiences or proving a narrative is worthy of a sequel. Though concerned with marketing I will avoid the music and toy sales as other expressions of these efforts.

When attempting to discuss what a blockbuster or tent-pole experience is the AMC network defined it this way:

“…rankings of both US (Domestic) and Worldwide Box-Office blockbusters have been compiled from various recent sources. The domestic rankings, divided into unadjusted and adjusted for inflation,* are based upon theatrical box office receipts (including some theatrical re-release receipts) and do not include video rentals, TV rights, international box office figures, or other revenues. A few other sites post all-time box-office information, including the Internet Movie DataBase,,, and” [1]

You may have noticed this entire discussion is all about business.  When trying to recognize a discussion about studio tent-pole strategy this is how typically critical commentators like Indiewire or Thomson Hollywood discusses the phenomena:

“I’m hearing that yes, studio heads are realizing that placing too many big bets on too few potential tentpoles–which when they work, do return the most money–is a foolish strategy. The conventional wisdom was always that you spread your risk over a diverse slate of projects, from low-budget comedies and genre fare to high-cost holiday sequels and potential blockbusters. The studios are returning to that approach.” [2]

Though business considerations are again the emphasis of these statements you recognize we were still discussing “first run” doubt and apprehension about audience buying. Intended franchises like last summers “John Carter” and “Battleship” were created to support multiple sequels yet business wise failed to live up to expectations.  Instead we’re again going to stay focused on the winners of the “first run” marketing race, and to do that we have to sustain our attention on the secondary market of home video.

As of today or this date December 17th, 2012, these are the biggest sellers in home video sales.

Rank: I

DVD Name: The Hunger Games

Units Sold: 6,098,342

Sales Revenue: $107,158,418

Release date: 8/18/2012

Rank: 2

DVD Name: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1

Units Sold: 5,366,152

Sales Revenue: $97,200,158

Release date: 2/11/2012

Rank: 3

DVD Name: The Avengers

Units Sold: 3,639,507

Sales Revenue: $65,814,327

Release date: 9/25/2012

Rank: 4

DVD Name: The Lorax

Units Sold: 3,433,735

Sales Revenue: $61,215,769

Release date: 8/7/2012

Rank: 5

DVD Name: Puss in Boots

Units Sold: 2,723,811

Sales Revenue: $44,894,316

Release date: 2/24/2012

Rank: 6

DVD Name: Sherlock Holmes:  A Game of Shadows

Units Sold: 2,720,864

Sales Revenue: $39,316,437

Release date: 6/12/2012

Rank: 7

DVD Name: Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

Units Sold: 2,392,232

Sales Revenue: $39,430,743

Release date: 3/27/2012

Rank: 8

DVD Name: Hop

Units Sold: 2,297,116

Sales Revenue: $37,863,108

Release date: 3/23/2012

Rank: 9

DVD Name: The Help

Units Sold: 3,639,507

Sales Revenue: $65,814,327

Release date: 9/25/2012

Rank: 10

DVD Name: 21 Jump Street

Units Sold: 1,807,991

Sales Revenue: $29,806,267

Release date: 12/6/2011

Without spending too much time on this, it appears that what people want too see in theaters dramatically differs from what they want in their homes.  Though there are some exceptions, did you notice how the list tends to focus on content that favors teen boys and girls?  Yet DVD and Blu Ray packages are successful for a lot of reasons including;

  1. Word of mouth about the movie
  2. Direction
  3. The Screen Play
  4. Cinematography
  5. Excellent production design
  6. High performances of all production departments
  7. The Original Posters
  8. First run trailers
  9. Excellent First Run distribution decisions
  10. Fan or audience development or persuasion

But SURELY the DVD and Blu-ray packaging must account for something?  As said before when the battle switches to the retail isles (actual or online) the media for coercion becomes, (whether packaged video or not), the media of graphic design or package design specifically.  Past and present, here are some formats we might frequently see.

Untitled-21. Thematically innovative, the “Interpretive unconventional” DVD container describes a class of package that is exceptionally unique and aims to captivate the audience as well as store or house DVDs or Blu Ray discs.  Here are some examples for this class of package.

  • Far more conventional the “multi-sleeve set” is a container for promotional material and or multiple disks and sets.  Here are some examples for this class of package.

  •  Alien Anthology

  1. The “Combination media” package allows a studio to sell more than one product.  Here are some examples for this class of package.

And the “sleeve” enables the selling of multiple disks.  Here are some examples for this class of package.

The studios seem to like to break up the narrative onto different disks in a fairly gratuitous manner.  Yet without franchises and multiple sequels, these deluxe packing agenda’s aren’t meaningful story wise. Fortunately this isn’t the kind of article that’s concerned with the finer mechanics of building better narratives or trying to make the packaging play a more significant role in the overall narrative or storytelling.






57 Responses to “The Future of DVD and Blu Ray Packaging (Part 2)”

  1. parisienne December 17, 2012 at 9:49 PM #


    very informative article. I enjoyed the HP 31 disc set showcase. However, I would not buy it because I’m not one who needs all that nonsense. I like the film and the extras on the film. I don’t need a map and all that other stuff so for me it would be a waste of money.

  2. Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 9:48 AM #

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! You are such a character!!!!!!!!

    Honestly I understand and respect your feelings but “Harry Potter” was one of the most respected franchises in movie history (written by a woman, revolving around a cast of child actors and creatively deriving from (not Hollywood) but England). Speaking of money, most people like you and I will never own a national monument like the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, or the Grand Canyon; so I support substitutes. If some people want to pay tribute with a small at-home monument to a piece of cultural and film history I say more power to ’em!

    (I probably would not buy that “jukebox” either, but from here it looks pretty spectacular! If I bought it, I would probably play with it ONCE then put it in the nearest high security bank vault. Believe me, that rare contraption will be worth 1,000 times the retail price in the collectibles, antiques, or memorabilia markets of the future.)

    • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 9:53 AM #

      The reason it will be so expensive is because most people like you and I will wrongly assume it’s just pop fluff.

    • ozzie20 December 18, 2012 at 8:37 PM #

      I actually want one! I might need to start saving my pennies now, lol!

      • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 8:42 PM #

        I’m not helping to market those things, but I think the English have a much more healthy appreciation for breaking high/low art barriers than we have in “the States.”

        • ozzie20 December 18, 2012 at 9:16 PM #


          To be honest, if I do ever buy it (if it’s anywhere near the price I think it will cost, it will most likely to be a no 😦 ), I think it will be the only franchise I will ever splash out on in my whole life. I just don’t see something coming along that’s as good as HP apart from The Lord of the Rings (I have no idea whether something like this was done for the LOTR franchise, as it’s the first time I’ve heard of such a massive collectors edition) or The Hobbit. For anything else I’ll stick to a basic DVD, lol.

  3. Open Book December 18, 2012 at 7:06 PM #

    Hi Everyone,

    Great article CR.

  4. littlebells December 18, 2012 at 7:07 PM #

    Fantastic article CR! Honestly, I just need one DVD of a movie. I don’t need all the other fanfare that goes with it.

    • Open Book December 18, 2012 at 7:11 PM #

      Hi LB!

    • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 7:29 PM #

      Thanks LB,

      …and you can well guess the fanfare is there to provoke sales.

      • littlebells December 18, 2012 at 7:33 PM #

        HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Just more stuff to get lost or broken in my house. 🙂

        • Open Book December 18, 2012 at 7:59 PM #

          ITA LB- Plus the fun in having less fanfare is to provoke kids to create and imagine their own. Nurturing imagination is a good thing IMO.

  5. Open Book December 18, 2012 at 7:09 PM #

    First let me say. I’m glad to see The Lorax as one of the Top 5 DVD’s this year. Maybe there is hope.

    • littlebells December 18, 2012 at 7:13 PM #

      Hi OB!

      I was also happy to see The Lorax AND The Help! Such a great variety.

      • Open Book December 18, 2012 at 7:16 PM #

        Yes! “The Help” too. Why do u think these films The Lorax & The Help are doing well on DVD?

        • littlebells December 18, 2012 at 7:26 PM #

          Well I don’t own “The Help” yet, but I do own “The Lorax” and it’s because it’s a quality film, kid or otherwise. Great storyline, great music, and great presentation. TH is another quality film that has a lot of great morals and lessons. They make you feel good and it’s nice to watch them and be reminded of so many wonderful things like: not judging others by how you look or what you do, being kind to others, taking care of our world and others, etc…

          • Open Book December 18, 2012 at 7:34 PM #

            LB- All great attributes to want to own and have in your home as well. Especially, if u have kids IMO.

            P.S. Sorry your not feeling well.

            • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 7:38 PM #

              OB and LB,

              I think as OB has suggested, consumers buy based on what they want in their homes versus what they do not want. Consumers want to initially see Paranormal activity amoung other people, not where they want their security.

  6. Open Book December 18, 2012 at 7:17 PM #


    You started out sounding like you were going to describe some characteristics of this media if it can be called that. Did you change your mind?

    • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 7:23 PM #

      Hi everyone; sorry catching up…..

      • Open Book December 18, 2012 at 7:24 PM #

        Hi CR!

      • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 7:25 PM #


        You’re correct, that was my intention. I was so surprised by fan reaction it made it difficult at one point to follow through. You are correct, I could not keep track of what I was doing.

        As you know there’s a word limit to the articles so I couldn’t just keep talking. Eventually I became preoccupied with what consumers were saying reacting to and remarking about their satisfactions, dissatisfactions, suspicions, approvals, disappointments,..…. It’s easy to be transfixed

        Sorry, I feel like I’m at the beach, a prisoner chained to boardwalk forced to keep watching the tide roll in and out. Honestly, it’s really fascinating!!!!

        • Open Book December 18, 2012 at 7:32 PM #


          What did you learn or find out?

          • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 7:40 PM #

            WHAT DID I LEARN?
            1. One major thing I learned is that I did know was the “first run” or primary feature film market is completely unlike the “second run” or secondary feature film market.

            2. As you saw in the article, I think the “unboxing” trend is really interesting. Had I had more time I would concentrated on that.

            3. I tried to be really be comprehensive then had to accept I didn’t learn as much about some film franchises as others.

            4. If I had more time I would want to concentrate on domestic needs were not met by the secondary film market.

            • Open Book December 18, 2012 at 7:42 PM #

              Ahh! That makes sense. Why do u think the “unboxing” trend is interesting?

              • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 7:53 PM #

                It’s cool to hear consumers directly back to retails and the studios.

                • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 7:54 PM #

                  “retails” should be ‘retailers.”

                  • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 8:01 PM #

                    I wanted these franchises or sequel driven films to make the cut but ran out of time.

                    • Austin Powers
                    • Lord of the Rings
                    • Mission Impossible
                    • Bridget Jones
                    • Legally Blonde
                    • Tyler Perry’s Madea movies
                    • Charlie’s Angels
                    • Resident Evil
                    • X-men
                    • Highlander Series
                    • Laura Croft
                    • Spiderman
                    • Shrek
                    • Miss Congeniality
                    • SAW
                    • Back to the Future
                    • Indiana Jones
                    • Star Wars

                    • Open Book December 18, 2012 at 8:28 PM #

                      CR- great article and very informative and researched.

                      I have to go for the evening. Goodnight!

                    • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 8:33 PM #

                      Thanks for coming OB, I appreciated the questions.

                • Open Book December 18, 2012 at 7:55 PM #

                  Hmm! Can u expand a little more on this statement?

                  • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 8:17 PM #

                    Sorry OB,
                    (Posted below)

  7. littlebells December 18, 2012 at 7:28 PM #


    Forgive me if we have discussed this before (I’ve got a cold and preggars brain), but with netflix, redbox, VOD, Blockbuster, and other ways of viewing films, what is to become of the DVD? Also, are these “packages” to entice people to buy the DVD and extras as opposed to just waiting until it gets online?

    • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 7:48 PM #


      We probably at least touched on it yet I’m not sure whether or to what degree we have discussed this before.

      I think there’s a huge degree of people who are happy with both systems. Incidentally, I have lived in two states where DVD’s eventually migrated to the local library. So this is great bonus to the public.

      • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 7:50 PM #

        By the way if you were asking for a preference, I think the local theatre is an absolute preference because it provides some democracy for the public to talk back to the studios. I hope DVD will remain with us a long time!!!!!!!

        Do you agree OB????

        • Open Book December 18, 2012 at 7:54 PM #


    • ozzie20 December 18, 2012 at 8:19 PM #

      Hi LB! Hugs to you! hope you get better soon. 🙂

      • littlebells December 18, 2012 at 8:26 PM #

        Hi Ozzie and thank you! Got the hubs to take the kids out for a few hours. Yeehaw!

  8. ozzie20 December 18, 2012 at 7:45 PM #

    Hi everyone!

    Cool article CR. Very informative! So much so I’m going to have to read it a second time to make sure I took it all in (I’m very tired so my brain is in go slow mode, lol)! 🙂

    • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 7:49 PM #

      Hi Ozzie,

      Take your time.

      • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 7:51 PM #


        Thanks for the compliment, too.

        • ozzie20 December 18, 2012 at 8:14 PM #

          You’re welcome! I think igot everything now, lol! It’s a very interesting topic as it’s not something a think about often. Although coincidently today it did actually pop into my head. I was looking at the DVDs in my local supermarket and saw they had Ted in. Now another shop have been advertising exclusive extra footage but I saw the dvds were exactly the same! At least now I don’t need to tell Santa to go to a specific shop, lol!

          • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 8:31 PM #

            I could be wrong, but I think things really get activated when the studios startwanting to make sequels.

            • ozzie20 December 18, 2012 at 8:50 PM #

              Oh yes, I hadn’t thought of that! Now that you mention that, it does make more sense!

    • Open Book December 18, 2012 at 7:51 PM #

      Hi Ozzie!

      • ozzie20 December 18, 2012 at 8:14 PM #

        Hi OB! How are you?

  9. littlebells December 18, 2012 at 8:11 PM #


    Do directors, actors, producers negotiate a take in DVD sales or does it solely go to the studio?

    • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 8:27 PM #

      Excellent, Excellent, Excellent question!
      Unfortunately I don’t have an answer, ( I have not seen their contracts).

      • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 8:28 PM #

        But by the DVD and Blu ray markets………………..

        Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth (and crew)
        Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner (and crew)
        Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson (and crew)

        Are the biggest stars in Hollywood. IMHO, they should be getting a cut for these sales too.

        • littlebells December 18, 2012 at 8:33 PM #

          Thank you CR! I would imagine they would.

  10. Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 8:15 PM #

    Regardless of what you think of what people say it’s fun to watch people respond to the merchandise, we know what the celebs and studios will say.

    Unless they are showing off, consumers aren’t always so sure. Compared to the Harry Potter set in the article, consumers always seem more sincere or genuinely surprised.

  11. littlebells December 18, 2012 at 8:45 PM #

    How much do prices vary in the different packages for one particular film?

    • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 8:52 PM #

      Another excellent question!

      They can vary greatly? My remark about making multiple disks was meant to suggest this was an excuse to artificially boost sales. The whole movie can be on one disk.

      • Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 8:54 PM #

        Some would call this “fleecing.”

  12. Comic Relief December 18, 2012 at 8:53 PM #

    OZZIE and LB,

    Hope you both feel better later.
    Unfortunately, I have to leave.

  13. littlebells December 18, 2012 at 8:55 PM #

    Thank you CR for a great article and discussion.

    Goodnight everyone! Go to sleep Ozzie. 🙂

    • ozzie20 December 18, 2012 at 9:19 PM #

      Will do, LB! You get some rest too while your house is nice and quiet!

      Bye CR and OB! Hope you both have a good day!

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