Someone Hasn’t Grasped the Meaning of “Limited Edition”

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 https://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.

45 comments

  1. NJScorpio

    What I like about Criterion is that they will publish a film as long as they have the rights to it. When that discs goes out of print, any added value it gains happens on resale. Those “limited editions” are worth it, IMO.

  2. The upcoming Batman TV series Blu-ray is being labeled as a “Limited Edition”, and I’m sure there will be WAY more than 10,000. Unless there’s going to be a limited edition and a standard edition, but I doubt it.

  3. …Seriously? You’re complaining that more people will have access to something you love. I would say this is a First World Problem, but I’m not even sure on what world this kind of complaint occurs.

    • You’re missing the gist of the piece, which is that something that has 10,000 units is far from “limited” in availability, particularly when it comes to Blu-ray – which is increasingly becoming a niche market (if, indeed, it ever wasn’t one).

      • NJScorpio

        Plus, the “limited” aspect is what contributed to (in that paricular case) a high price, and people paying that high price at release. Otherwise, they could just wait a year and get it for $39.99 new on Amazon…which will likely be the case, as 10,000 is quite a lot of $80 bundles of a cult 80’s movie (that, it sounds, isn’t all that great/important to begin with).

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      What I’m complaining about is Shout! Factory’s false advertising. They are charging an extremely high price for this product on the basis of it being a “limited edition.” As in, “You better buy this right now for this price, otherwise it will sell out and you’ll never get it.”

      Under normal circumstances I would just wait for the inevitable price drop, but because this looked like it was about to sell out, I ordered at the asking price. Now it turns out that there was never any real threat of it selling out. There’s nothing limited about this “limited edition” at all. If the disc comes close to selling out, Shout! Factory will just raise the limit. I was duped into buying this at the high price when it will be available for half the price or even less next year.

      • Clemery

        And if they had come out of the gate saying it was a limited edition of 10,000 units, then I might agree with you… but it was originally released as a limited 5,000 unit run, with additional units being negotiated after the release attracted such a high demand.

        Rather than complain about nothing, why not run a piece on how this release is largely attributable to the many fans around the globe who joined and followed groups such as Occupy Midian, signing petitions and attending test screening to help generate a platform to prove a global demand… the same fans who have now been shafted due to corporate greed and antiquated release models that sees both releases limited to US residents only, let alone being region coded?

        • Josh Zyber
          Author

          If they had come out of the gate stating that it was 10,000 units, then the first 5,000 people to order would not have been mislead by false advertising claiming that they better buy it right away at the high price or risk losing it forever. Honestly, this should not be a difficult concept to grasp. The product was priced in accordance with being a rare limited edition, and then suddenly those terms were completely changed.

          What about this release justifies being priced at $80? Originally, we were told that demand outstripped supply, and the price was a factor of its rarity. But now supply exceeds demand. How is this worth $80 anymore?

          • Clemery

            I would gladly pay $80 for the LE if it was made available to me legally. I reside in Australia, so I am effectively barred from legitimately purchasing this release, with my only options being to purchase via greedy ebayers who ship internationally (buy-it-now’s starting at $150!!!), or just download the torrent.

            Neither option appeals, since I won’t succumb to the rip-off merchants on ebay, and I truly appreciate the effort and work that has gone into this release so far, and would like to support the publisher by officially and legally purchasing the limited edition at the listed RRP. However, they are clearly not interested in my money since they are restricting both playback ability via region-coding, as well as prohibiting any sale to non-US shipping addresses… so that leaves only one real option for me then, doesn’t it?

  4. Chris B

    Well even if they increase the number to 10,000 units and never manufacture any more it’s still technically a “Limited Edition”, albeit a much larger one than originally planned. If they do another run of any number after this then people have a right to be super pissed.

    I can kind of understand your frustation Josh, but at least it’s encouraging to see theres enough people out there willing to spend the money on blu rays to warrant an increase in production. Maybe it will lead to more super cool special editions in the future as the company and others can now see the demand for certain movies is this high among collectors. Besides, if I buy a special edition of some movie it’s for the features and cool packaging. I don’t sit there and think to myself “…and theres only 4,999 of these left in the whole world! mwah haha!”.

    I see how some people might be a little choked, but enough to cancel your order for an awesome edition of a movie you’ve been a fan of for years!?!? C’mooooooooon

  5. Chris B

    I’ve actually never seen this movie to be honest, but I’ve found that any entertainment product with the name “Clive Barker” above it’s title usually sucks pretty bad…except for maybe some of his books…which I’ve never really read.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      Twilight Time hasn’t announced which titles yet, but speculation is that Fright Night will probably be one. Possibly The Fury updated with the newer master that was used in Region B. That’s just guessing among fans, though.

    • ElegantTobacco

      They confirmed via their Facebook page that they will re-release these in 2015:
      Journey to the Center of the Earth
      Fright Night
      Christine

      And, as a final kick to nuts to those who supported them originally, they will all have special features and 4K restorations, unlike the original “best these films will ever get” editions.

  6. The recently announced Batman the Complete TV Series is also touted as “Limited Edition”
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LT1JHLW/panandscathed-20

    So exactly what does this mean? Press 5, 000,000,000 copies and then simply say it is limited because you’re done pressing them?

    Hell, even major Disney animated titles are considered a “Limited Edition” if you think about it. Buy as many as you want now, but when the calendar clicks and the title must go back to the vault, no more, it’s gone. I wonder if they made tens of thousands of a disc, then when they need more, churn more off, but only up til the vault date?

    • Which brings me to this question: when Disney recalls discs because the film is about to be locked in the vault (again), what do they do with the unsold discs? They don’t keep them for seven/eight years, because (just one example I can think of) the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ DVD (from 2002) is not the same as the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ DVD from 2010 (that was released concurrently with the Blu-ray). Does Disney actually destroy unsold discs, only to keep the vault concept alive? That sounds awfully … horrible.

      • Josh Zyber
        Author

        I don’t believe Disney actually recalls discs when a title goes back in the vault. They just don’t press any more copies. Whatever stock is still available on retailer shelves can be sold until it runs out. With Disney animation, that generally doesn’t take too long.

  7. Kwyjibo

    You are very mistaken in your assessment of this. The Limited Edition was always planned on being 5,000 units. Shout Factory’s deal with WB to include the Theatrical version meant it had to be capped at a number, and 5,00 was the agreed upon number. When the pre-order went live, it sold far more units than Shout Factory expected. Because we wanted as many people as possible to have access to this set, we went back to WB, who graciously agreed to another 5,000 units. They didn’t have to, but they did, so many thanks to WB for helping us out.

    And the “high” price for the LE? Well, it costs a lot of money to make HD transfers of film elements that have no HD masters. Would you rather we have upressed the existing VHS footage? Of course not. So, money to make new HD transfers plus money to license TWO different film versions from TWO different companies and money for all the bonus features means this is going to be a pricier set than normal. If you can’t afford the LE set, then that’s why there’s the regular version with just the Director’s Cut.

    So believe us when we say 10,000 units is now the max, because WB won’t let us license anything beyond that. We’re numbering all the sets from 1 – 10,000, so once 10,000 units are sold, that’s it.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      If you’re going to speak on behalf of a company, I must insist that you identify yourself.

      Assuming that you’re a representative from Shout! Factory, I’m sorry but I respectfully disagree. The high price of the LE (and yes, $80 is extremely high for a Blu-ray, as you can easily see by looking at the market) was sold on the justification that this would be a limited supply item. Get it now before it’s gone. Yet as soon as you hit your previously determined limit, suddenly that limit can get doubled. There is nothing “limited” about 10,000 copies of a catalog title on Blu-ray. Not in the current market.

      You say that the high price of the LE was to pay for the creation of the new high-def transfers. Did Shout! Factory in fact strike a new high-def transfer for the theatrical cut, or was that provided by Warner Bros. from an existing master?

      I understand that the creation and transfer of the Director’s Cut was expensive, but that Director’s Cut is not exclusive to or even the main selling point of the Limited Edition. It’s also in the much less expensive standard edition. The $55 markup on the LE gets fans the theatrical cut (licensed from Warner Bros.) and some new supplements. How many of Shout! Factory’s other licensed titles are priced at $55? Any?

      I’m not trying to be argumentative here. I just don’t understand the reasoning.

      The way Shout! Factory has priced things, a fan of Nightbreed can buy the brand new, fully restored Director’s Cut of the movie for $25, or spend $80 to get both the Director’s Cut (as we’ve determined, valued at $25) plus the theatrical cut. What about the theatrical cut justifies a $55 markup? Where’s the value proposition in this for consumers?

      That $80 price is only justified by the LE being a limited quantity, one-time-only collectible item. By suddenly doubling the announced limit when it sold well, you’ve just told people who ordered it at the original price, with the understanding that the product was in danger of selling out, that the limit was meaningless and the item is nowhere near as rare as they were led to believe. It should be in plentiful supply for a long time, and will probably see a price drop before it ever goes out of stock. So why should they pay that $80 now? What’s the incentive?

      • Perry Creason

        I am a huge Clive Barker fan. However I am not going to dish out an extra $55 for the theatrical cut for a limited edition that after going from 5000 to 10,000 because of demand may go to 20,000 or more if demand is there and no guarantee of a print run. I will give the $25 for the director’s cut and hang onto my theatrical cut DVD. I have no guarantee the Blu-ray theatrical cut will be much better than the DVD anyway. I will hold off and if the limited edition drops significantly enough in price or find a one used at a decent price then I will pick it up then and sell off the theatrical DVD and director Blu-ray. Otherwise I will be content will the regular edition when the director’s cut will likely be the preferred watched one anyway.

    • Clemery

      You say: “Because we wanted as many people as possible to have access to this set”

      Don’t you mean: “Because we wanted as many US-residents as possible to have access to this set”? If your goal was to satisfy the fans, then limiting sales to US-residents only kinda flies in the face of your claim.

      • William Turner

        Why do you keep accusing them of being greedy with the region locking as far as foreign customers are concerned? Don’t you understand that it is not their choice whether a title is region free? They have stated numerous times that Scream Factory is only LEGALLY AUTHORIZED to release it in Region A, just like their LIfeForce release that was only Region A, because ARROW had the rights to release it in Region B. Get over yourself and order it from Amazon.com or DiabolikDVD.com, they both ship overseas. And BTW, would you all like some Cheese with your WINE?!?!?!? LMAO. Crybabies!!!

        • Clemery

          Region locking is a direct result of corporate greed… end of story. You can argue until you are blue in the face about how different companies have different rights in different parts of the world… good on ya! My argument is that we now live in a global marketplace, and studios need to wake up and leave these antiquated release models behind and treat the world like the unified marketplace that it now is.

          Like it or loathe it, region coding breeds piracy. It isn’t really a barrier to me, since I have a region-switchable BD player. If you actually paid attention to my post that you replied to, it doesn’t mention region coding at all, but is rather an attack on their shipping restriction to US addresses only. These restrictions are again a product of perceived dollar values, since a worldwide shipping policy could have been financially negotiated, but no… its deemed that only US residents deserve legal access to this release. This is an even bigger advert for piracy… since if I am prohibited from legally purchasing a product, then why the hell wouldn’t I just download it?

          In my case, morals and a desire for uncompressed audio are why I have been so desperate to secure an official copy of the LE. Unlike other “crybabies” (who, by the way, have unfettered access to the release) I don’t find the $80 price tag unreasonable, and would gladly purchase it at full retail from any retailer willing and able to ship to my Australia address. I have not seen the LE listed on Amazon for some time now, and I have been checking diabolikdvd every single day… and the LE has only JUST re-appeared on their site today.

          Suffice to say, I have now secured my copy. However, my viewpoint on region coding and market separation and how these impact levels of piracy remain unchanged… and shall continue to feel no sympathy for any studio employs such restrictions when they whine about piracy.

          Thanks for your input though… you sure tried to teach me a lesson!

  8. Perry Creason

    I completely understand your point, Josh, and am happy to back you up on this. If Twilight Time re-releases Fright Night I would imagine that about 3000 or so people will be quite pissed and upset, especially those that have recently bought them such places as eBay or Amazon for $300+. It clearly states on the back of mine as well as all other Twilight Time Blu-rays “Limited Edition of 3000”. Unless it is released as a different edition clearly marked (maybe like 2nd printing like Criterion does) then Twilight Time is completely shooting themselves in the foot. I preordered Fright Night for $40 because as a long time fan I wanted it on Blu-ray. With being extremely short on extras I felt this was quite over priced. However with it on its way to selling out of the stated 3000 much before release I had to make sure to get my copy. If they do a reprint exactly as the first print then the stated print run on the back is a flat out lie. Anyone wanting to make sure to get any movie that they would have the release rights for would then guess that all they would have to do is wait for a lowered market value, completely disregarding the stated print run. Also, resellers (who contribute a good amount of Twilight Times sales) would have to think twice about buying movies from them in the future because the added value only comes when Twilight Time runs out. If there is no threat of being out of print then there becomes little if any extra value added. Anyone dismissing resellers then I should add the point that in the case of Fright Night that Twilight Time gave the incentive for anyone ordering five copies would receive a free sixth copy of the movie signed by the director. This clearly shows that they cater to resellers (who else needs six copies of the movie?) and they would be hurting themselves to these buyers if they don’t back their stated print run. And if sales decrease that could effect this very small company as a whole such as not offering as many different titles which effects the direct consumers. It all comes full circle. Not honoring stated print runs hurts everyone and is not good business practice.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      Twilight Time has not officially announced the details of their planned reissues, but I believe they have stated that the reissues will be different from the original copies. Possibly new remastered transfers. Possibly new bonus features.

      I still think I’d be annoyed if I’d bought one of their “Limited Editions” only to have them put out an even better edition shortly afterwards.

      • Question: let’s say the price drops to 39.99 or whatever, and amazon refunds you about 40 bucks, would that take the sting out a little? Would you rather the other 5000 units stay at 80 dollars, or are you just really pissed about the company making more copies and the principle of the whole thing? I’m just thinking if your order hasn’t shipped yet and the price drops, you shield get some money back. Maybe?

          • It looks like the not as limited edition if Nightbreed is now about 72 bucks at amazon. So you’re about 7 bucks out of the crapper for now. I’ll bet it goes down to about 55 bucks by the time they ship. Thanks for the 50hz info btw.

    • Wouldn’t the only ones pissed be the scalpers? I feel like in the case with Fright Night, more fans were upset that there wasn’t a mainstream release such as myself, because its a pretty popular movie. I get Josh’s point with the Nightbreed thing, but the Twilight Time situation seems to be a little different. 35 dollars after shipping is very reasonable for something not found at stores, but 300 is pretty rapey.

      • William Turner

        And I am grateful for the Twilight Time Re-Issues. I was still hesitant about upgrading to Blu Ray by the time they sold out originally, so now I will get a chance to own Fright Night and Christine, without paying $200.

        • Josh Zyber
          Author

          To be clear, Fright Night and Christine are just rumored to be among the reissues. Twilight Time has not confirmed which titles will be reissued. For all we know, it could be The Egyptian and Journey to the Center of the Earth.

      • Perry Creason

        My bad. I guess it was $29.95 but with shipping I guess it got close to $40 and that bottom line number stuck in my head. Anyways in my opinion expensive for a near bare bones issue except that it is limited to 3000 and the collectible aspect of it. I have only bought the one from Twilight Time because it has been my only “must own” title they have offered. Otherwise I can get 3 or 4 catalogue titles I would like equally as well as any other title they offer in the cheap bins at Best Buy or Wal-Mart. Now learning they are offering a 4K remastered edition with real special features I am quite pissed especially when I was told directly by a Twilight Time company owner (they don’t have many employees so owners are also employees there, or at least they were) back at the time of pre-order that there would only be 3000 made and they would never reprint it. He lied and I don’t think I will ever buy anything from them again.

        • I agree. You should forward the comments he made back then to him, and confront him with his old words. Demand a free ‘Fright Night’ (4K/special features) for their lies. Go for broke!

  9. Hey Josh, it’s actually the second time you got scammed! They also extended the run of the ReAction ‘Alien’ figures you pre-ordered. I fully understand your issue, and your scorn. Limited should remain limited.

    (I do wonder why 318 million Americans can’t buy 10.000 catalog Blu-ray discs. If my math skills are correct, that’s only 0,0033% of the population. Are catalog titles THAT unpopular?)

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      In the current market, yes, catalog titles on Blu-ray are that unpopular. Most viewers who already own a movie on DVD are resistant toward upgrading to it to Blu-ray.

      • William Henley

        This kinda leads to my thoughts – how is a company like Twilight Time able to turn a profit if they only do 3000 disc releases? I mean, I get they sale them at $29.95, but I am sure a good chunk of that goes to Screen Archives, then a good chunk goes to negotiating rights and royalties. By the time you rescan the film, clean it up, packaging and artwork, subtitles, disc authoring, pressing costs, etc, and pay their staff, I am surprised they can turn a profit.

        For that matter, I am with Julian – how the heck are they not selling out? I mean, I get they are catalogue titles, but didn’t movies like Casablanca, Wizard of Oz, Gone With The Wind, Sound of Music have limited editions of 15,000 plus still have steelbook releases, 3D releases (Wizard of Oz), Target Exclusive editions, and stripped-down editions? I get they are more popular movies, but it also seems that a company should be able to move more than 3,000 copies of a disc in Region A markets.

  10. Blaine

    Wait, they haven’t even issued it, yet? You can still actually cancel and save yourself the cost you now feel is unjustified? How is this something worth complaining about? Unless you were hoping to sell it for a profit as a collectable, and that is always a risk, anyway. If they printed another 5000 right after release day without warning, then I could see your point, but they’ve let you know before release, which is better than many companies that double dip by following a barebones release with a deluxe edition shortly later. If your theory is correct and it is now overpriced and there will be a glut of them, you should be able to buy it for quite cheap in a couple of months.

    Now the people that already paid for the limited Twilight Time discs, and who were told “limited and the best they will ever be”… I can see their complaint. They can’t cancel now. But even they bought something they felt was worth it at the time, so it is like most technology. Better stuff tends to come along making the last purchase seem less valuable. I think I have at least a couple of movies on all of Beta, VHS, DVD, HD-DVD, and Blu-ray, and I know I spent too much buying the older ones, and I’m sure I’ll feel I spent too much on the Blu-ray versions eventually, too. But those movies are at least ones I watch over… I’ve got some I never broke the shrinkwrap on, and until I find time to watch them I’d have to say those were the ones that were too expensive. When I was a little kid, the ability to own a film at home was like a dream, and when it become possible, it seemed priceless. Forty years later and it is a commodity found in bargain bins or a digital file in the cloud.

    The question is what is the movie actually worth to you? Trust me, I’m a sucker for steelbooks and limited editions, but I’m trying to get back to just enjoying the movies again, and to actually go through all the special features before those become obsolete.

    So go ahead and cancel, but if most of the 5000 pre-orders feel the same way and cancel, too, I would expect even fewer special editions in the future.

    • You, sir, raise very valid points. “But even they bought something they felt was worth it at the time, so it is like most technology.” => I agree! Twilight Time releases are expensive (especially for Europeans; we have to pay extra shipping fees), but some movies are worth it. Josh said something along those lines in an earlier blog post: ‘Back in the day, LaserDiscs were even more expensive. When you feel a movie is worth the money, you shouldn’t complain. You should be happy to get the chance to just own it.’ (paraphrased)

  11. John

    Twilight Time is becoming deceptive. They have stated on their website and other websites that quantities were running low and once a particular bluray sold out, it was gone. Basically saying you better hurry up and buy it if you want one because we will never have anymore. It does not matter why someone buys a limited edition of anything … it does matter when someone is selling an item they claim to be a limited edition to entice someone to pay more for that item, when in fact the item is not as limited as the advertised. And it seems there should be repercussions for deceiving consumers in such a manner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *