Words have meanings. Especially when it comes to the marketing of a product sold to consumers, using the correct meaning of those words is helpful, if not required. When a so-called “Limited Edition” item turns out to be not so limited as claimed, the company runs the risk of being accused of bait-and-switch.
Case in point: the upcoming Blu-ray release of Clive Barker’s cult horror film ‘Nightbreed’. In October of this year, Scream Factory will release the movie in two separate editions: a standard Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack that contains only the new extended Director’s Cut, and a 3-disc Limited Edition that contains both the Director’s Cut and the original 1990 theatrical cut, plus some exclusive bonus features.
The 3-disc edition was initially announced as being limited to 5,000 copies. Despite the very steep MSRP of $79.97, horror fans bought it up quickly – perhaps more quickly than parent company Shout! Factory anticipated. (Amazon briefly listed it for a slightly less unreasonable $59.48.) Now, just days after both Amazon and Shout! pulled their listings for the LE with a notification that all 5,000 copies had sold out, the following notice was posted to the Scream Factory Facebook page:
“***NIGHTBREED: LIMITED EDITION – Now 10,000 UNITS***
Hello all! We have some news today regarding our NIGHTBREED: THE DIRECTORS CUT (LIMITED EDITION) release that we hope will make many of you happy.
To say that we were caught by surprise over the frenzied demand for it would be an understatement. Preorders across the board went so quick that we almost had to post soon that we were sold out of the original 5,000 units. We sensed your concerns that would happen too.
We want to give as many fans of Clive Barker’s exceptional film the opportunity to purchase the set and so we went back to Warner Bros (since they have the rights to theatrical cut) and explained the situation. They graciously understood and so we can now officially tell you that we have expanded the number of units for the LIMITED EDITION SET to 10,000 total–which will all be numbered. Once they are sold out though, that will be it.
We are taking pre-orders again on our site at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/nightbreed-directors-cut-deluxe-edition and they should also be available soon to pre-order on other fine online retailers. If you have questions about your order from our site, please contact our customer service at [email protected]”
Indeed, the Limited Edition has now reopened for sale on the Shout! Factory web site with text stating that it is “LIMITED TO 10,000 COPIES.” Not 5,000 copies.
Admittedly, perhaps I’m just feeling some sour grapes about this since I happen to be one of the suckers who ordered the LE during the original period. However, considering the exorbitantly high asking price, the limited-quantity collectible status of the Blu-ray was one of its biggest selling points, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be disappointed that this aspect is essentially going away. Let’s be honest here: When it comes to catalog titles on Blu-ray, 10,000 copies is hardly a “limited edition.” Even the original 5,000 copy limit was pushing that definition. Most catalog titles on the format, even big-name popular movies, struggle to sell even 1,000 units. A quantity of 10,000 should be more than enough to satisfy all of the movie’s fans who’d like to own it on Blu-ray. And if, somehow, Scream Factory manages to sell through all 10,000 copies, something tells me that the studio will just renegotiate with Warner Bros. again to press more. You can’t have a “Limited Edition” if the limit keeps increasing anytime more copies are needed.
I was in high school when ‘Nightbreed’ was first released to theaters, and I became a little obsessed with the movie. I watched it again years later and it really didn’t hold up. It’s a rather cheesy, disjointed, poorly-acted mess. My desire to own it on Blu-ray at all mostly comes down to nostalgia and curiosity. The standard (non-limited) Director’s Cut disc could probably have met my needs, but I panicked when it looked like the Limited Edition was on track to sell out. I promptly ordered a copy from Amazon so that I wouldn’t miss this rare collectible. Yet now there won’t be anything rare about it at all. I feel like I got scammed.
I could still cancel my Amazon order, and honestly, I’m considering it.
The fact that this comes on the heels of Twilight Time making a similar announcement that it has re-licensed and will reissue some of its own sold-out Limited Editions makes me wary of purchasing Blu-rays from either label in the future.