Mid-Week Poll: Do You “Blind Buy” Movies on Blu-ray?

If you’re like most movie collectors, you’ve probably made a “blind buy” (in which you purchase DVD or Blu-ray without having ever watched the movie before) or two in your day, perhaps even a lot of times. Do you make this a regular habit, or do you save your dollars only for movies that you’ve already seen?

According to the results of the poll we ran a couple weeks ago, many of our readers told us that they rarely pay to see movies in a theater anymore, preferring instead to just wait for Blu-ray. If that’s the case, it stands to reason that these people must blind buy a lot of Blu-rays for movies that they didn’t bother to see in a cinema. Then again, perhaps they rent first, or stream from Netflix, to ensure that they actually like the movie before committing to a purchase.

Back in the days when I had way more disposable income and free time, I used to blind buy quite a lot of movies. Unfortunately, this has left me with a huge collection of discs that I’ve never found time to watch. As a result, I’m much more selective now. I mainly purchase movies that I’ve seen and like. However, I may blind buy a movie that I feel is a safe bet, given my tastes and word-of-mouth for the film. What I’m much more likely to blind buy are Criterion Collection titles and collectible SteelBooks. (Some day, I’ll have to make a concerted effort to watch all of my Criterion discs.)

What about you? Do you buy movies you’ve never seen?

Do You Blind-Buy Movies on Blu-ray?

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  1. William Henley

    Missing poll option – I will only blind buy if its below a certain price.

    Most of my blind-buys have been discount Blu-Rays are clearance HD-DVDs that I can pick up for under $10. At that price, it brings it down to about the price of a rental, so if I find that I don’t like the film, I am not really put out.

    • William Henley

      Ugh, I hate being a grammar nazi on my own posts!
      *discount Blu-Rays OR clearance HD-DVDs.

      Also did a few blind buys on laserdiscs that I was able to pick up for a couple of bucks (like Breakfast at Tiffanys)

  2. NJScorpio

    I am also a Criterion blindbuyer, with many titles I have yet to watch.

    What I find funny is when the ones I expect to like the most are some of my least favorite Criterions…while ones I was on the fence about buying often end up being some of my favorite films.

    A good example is how I enjoyed, but don’t expect to rewatch, ‘Mystery Train’. Then a title like ‘The Wages of Fear’ is now in my top 10 favorites.

  3. Lord Bowler

    I will blind buy movies I haven’t seen if I’m confident I will like them or the price can’t be beat.

    Mostly I buy movies I’ve seen first. I may blind buy a Blu-Ray of a movie I’ve seen without checking into the supplements if I really enjoyed the movie. Otherwise, I’ll wait for a review of the disc details and the decide what price-point I’ll buy it at.

    Most movies can be seen in HiDef on cable and Netflix/Amazon so the only reason to own it is for the supplements. I like to own movies because I don’t have internet that will support HiDef streaming, yet!

  4. I get a strange rush from blind buying. Usually from Blue-Underground and Criterion when Barnes & Nobles has their 50% off sale. Back in the days of DVD I blind bought all the time, especially all those sleazy Italian flicks that were complete & uncut for the first time in America. I have to watch my spending more now. When movies go on sale for 9.99 and under I will likely find a title to blind buy.

  5. Timcharger

    Blind-Buying is NOT a negative in my book. Not seeing something before and able to see it for the first time IS a plus for me.

    “I haven’t seen this before” is said by me with eager anticipation and is an “extra value” to the purchase, over buying a movie that I’ve already seen before.

    Now there are some pre-conditions: price and predisposition. It must be something I wanted to see, but for some reason haven’t. I already have a predisposed positive attitude to that film. And only if the price is right. I may be a blind-buyer, but I’m not a blind-payer.


    The best choice for me which isn’t in the poll is:
    Sure, I blind buy lots of movies that I’m interested in AND may be highly recommended by sources that I trust.

      • Timcharger

        That’s were the precondition of price kicks in.

        If the price is too high, then rental all the way. If the price is fair (and I mentally subtract the cost of renting it), then it becomes an even better valued buy.

        Put another way, if I rent something first. And later on I decide I want to buy it, I feel that I need to wait for an greater discounted price to make for the rental costs I’ve already put towards that film.

  6. EM

    I chose “…I only buy movies I already know that I like.”, although there have been a few exceptions on the DVD side. I think “I may blind buy a few movies…” would have been an incorrect choice because it states a policy of allowing for blind purchases, whereas mine have truly been extraordinary exceptions, and they have been exceedingly rare. Such purchases have sometimes worked out (for example, the Lon Chaney, Sr. vehicle He Who Gets Slapped, which I was finding available only via Warner’s disc-on-demand store; and the sci-fi comedy Naked Space a.k.a. Spaceship a.k.a. The Creature Wasn’t Nice, which I had fascinatedly read about when I was a kid and which I stumbled upon in a bin of cheap, no-frills discs), but the vast majority of movies I may feel likely to want to own end up dispelling that notion once I’ve seen them, and so for me the better policy is to see first…perhaps even multiple times. In general, I am more stringent with my Blu-ray purchases than with my DVD purchases, and there are no movie Blu-rays that I have blind-bought.

    If we widen the poll’s scope to not just Blu-ray movies but Blu-rays in general, then my policy does more freely allow blind purchases of “ambient” or “wallpaper” discs (e.g., yule logs). Even so, I first try to watch previews and/or read reviews.

  7. I generally avoid blind buying except under certain circumstances:

    1) Foreign cinema I will frequently blind buy, especially if it doesn’t get a US release since many titles will go out of print and then be unavailable to buy (or watch) anywhere. Example: Korean cinema
    2) Really good prices: If it’s 50% or more off the MSRP, the new price is competitive with the used price, and the title has been out for a while, I might consider blind buying. Examples: Criterion Collection sales, Target $5 rack

    In both of these cases, I will still only blind buy if:

    A) I’ve seen other works by the director or writer and like them
    B) The movie or series comes with critical acclaim or strong recommendation from my peers with similar taste.

    Most of my regular blind buying is of imported foreign cinema, but I do pick up some US titles blind every few months.

  8. motorheadache

    I used to blind buy a lot in the DVD days. Now I have a DVD collection overrun with titles I don’t really care about.

    In this age of downloading, instant streaming, and Redbox, I don’t blind buy almost ever. In fact, the amount of movies I buy has seriously gone down overall. The film really has to be something I know I’ll want to rewatch at least fairly consistently now for me to buy it.

  9. I will blind buy more than a few, almost the “lots” answer.
    Thus far I have only hated two movies for how horrible they are;
    Breeders and Birdemic.
    I see Birdemic 2 is coming out soon – can’t wait to see that one reviewed, lol.

  10. bhlombardy

    Agreed with the above comments enough to mash them up a bit:

    I’ll blind buy *if* the price is right and/or it comes recommended and/or has some keen or unique interest associated with it.

    Price is less of a concern if qualified one or more other factors.

    But I wouldn’t just blind-buy movies willy-nilly. I don’t have the kind of disposable income.

    • Dimwit

      Yep except price is always a concern for me. I’m really fortunate that my local dealer sells used blu’s by the ton. I generally won’t buy new unless used will be unavailable. That means just the B&N Crit sale.

    • Do you ever pay to see a movie you haven’t seen before?

      I’ve never really understood why it’s supposed to be so strange to buy a blu-ray or DVD of a movie one hasn’t seen, when it’s perfectly natural to go to the cinema and see a movie one hasn’t seen before.

      • Pedram

        Because at the theatre you’re paying for a few things that are different than having the Blu-Ray:

        -Larger than life experience. Most people’s home theatres cannot rival the cinema experience, especially with things like IMAX and Atmos.
        -Seeing the movie when it’s first available, especially if you’re anticipating its release
        -Being part of the conversation about the movie when it’s at its peak and not having to worry about spoilers

        Also, there’s no option to “rent” a theatre experience for much cheaper. To me blind buying makes sense if it’s below a certain threshold (what that threshold is depends on a few factors), but new Blu-Rays are usually double the price of a cinema ticket, so rentals make much more sense to me. If I don’t like the movie I only paid a few bucks, and don’t have a reminder on my shelf of the money I wasted.

        • Timcharger

          “There’s no option to rent a theater experience”

          All theater seats are “rented”.

          I can’t re-pop-in at my theater with used tickets from last week to rewatch a film. I need to rent those seats and pay again.

          • Pedram

            What I meant was a cheaper version (just to try it out) compared to the full price, in the same vein as rental vs purchase of discs. The closest thing would be the discount theatres but they usually get movies later.

      • Timcharger

        Exactly. “Blind-buying” a theater experience isn’t a negative.

        I tried to make the point that blind-buying blus is not a negative, but a positive for me.

        Whenever I hear a friend or family member hasn’t seen a film that I highly recommend. I get envious of that person when I lend him my disc: “I wish I was you; I get to watch this for the first time…”

  11. Kyle

    Though my buying habits have decreased due to lack of funds, I still blind buy a lot of blu-rays. I don’t download and I rarely get out to the theatre anymore, so a majority of them are ones I haven’t seen. And like Csm101 said, I too get a bit of a rush with blind buying!