Appropriate Use of Region Coding For Blu-ray - cont.
In my last batch of imported Blu-ray discs, I purchased Tim Burtons' absolute classic The Nightmare Before Christmas, which just so happens to be one of my favourite films of all time. I checked the status of the order every day, up until the point that the order shipped, and then traced the FedEx order every step of the way until it arrived at my destination. So to say I was eagerly awaiting the movie to end up in my hot little hands, would be gross underestimation.
The film, released by Disney Home Entertainment is now 15 years old. It has well and truly made back its production costs a few times over, sold extremely well on home video and has a very loyal cult following. The film is also owned by Disney and released by Disney in all territories. Coupled that with the fact that Disney have thus far been fair in not implementing region coding (especially for catalogue titles), makes the revelation that The Nightmare Before Christmas is region coded, even more surprising.
Another example of a ridiculous region coded Blu-ray is the U.S. release of Twentieth Century Fox's 1966 film Batman The Movie. A very similar example, it has definitely made back its production costs a few times over, sold extremely well on home video and has a loyal cult following. Why the hell is this disc region coded? It makes no sense. All it does is limit me, as a consumer, the ability to purchase this movie from the United States (at all) or at whatever price it is sold for (which is probably cheaper than what it would sell for would it be here).
My suggestion to the studios for fair and equitable use of region coding, is the following:
New release films that still play in overseas cinemas, can be region coded at the studios discretion. Any subsequent re-releases (from a later re-pressing) of the film should be released completely region free.
Catalogue titles should be completely region free.
This will keep region coding fair for consumers worldwide, foster good will amongst consumers and will almost certainly delay (the albeit inevitable) region free players, because consumers can for the most part live with these easier restrictions.
Whilst I highly doubt that studios will change their policies based on what I have written, I will forward this article to the representatives of the studios that I deal with (which is all of the major players).
For now, please continue to enjoy my "safe importation guide, which will be released on a regular basis.