The Muppets took Manhattan, and now it appears Amazon is taking the Muppets hostage--at least, their DVD pre-sales. In yet another apparent contract renegotiation battle with a supplier, Amazon is restricting some DVD and Blu-ray pre-sales from the Walt Disney Company. The pre-sale block includes titles from Walt Disney Pictures and Marvel Studios. See also: Best Blu-ray players 2016
Most notably Captain America: The Winter Soldier is available from Amazon only as a pre-order on instant video. There doesn't even appear to be a page for the DVD and Blu-ray versions of the title on Amazon. The second Captain America film is set for disc release on September 9.
Million Dollar Arm, another Disney film set for a fall release, also doesn't have a DVD or Blu-ray page. The film starring Jon Hamm does, however, have a pre-sale page on Amazon Instant Video, just as the Captain America title does.
Other Disney discs that aren't making the Amazon cut include Muppets Most Wanted and Maleficent. In the case of the new Muppets movie, Amazon is providing a landing page for the discs, but all it offers is the chance to sign up for an email alert once the items become available.
Amazon's apparent strong-arm tactics with Disney echo a similar approach to Warner Bros. pre-releases. Beginning in June, Amazon began restricting pre-sales of discs for several popular Warner Bros. movies, including The Lego Movie.
The battle with Warner Bros. apparently continues, as The Lego Movie and 300:Rise of an Empire are not available in disc form from Amazon. They are, however, available on Amazon Instant Video. Another upcoming Warner Bros. release, Godzilla, also isn't available for pre-order on disc. However, other Warner Bros. disc releases, such as Blended and Disaster L.A.: The Last Zombie Apocalypse Begins Here are available for pre-order from Amazon.
With friends like this, who needs enemies?
Amazon has made headlines recently with its supplier spats. Most notably, the company's ongoing feud with major book publisher Hachette has raised the ire of notable authors including Susan Faludi, Malcolm Gladwell, John Grisham, Stephen King, and Nora Roberts.
Similar to the movie studio fights, Amazon is restricting pre-sales on certain Hachette books. In addition, Amazon's is slow to deliver Hachette titles already in print.
In response to the Hachette battle, Amazon says it is only wants to ensure e-book prices aren't inflated. The company may have a similar rationale for its apparent disagreements with Disney and Warner Bros.
But if Amazon keeps this up it won't be long before its catalog of new titles of DVD and Blu-ray titles is more limited than it should be. A move that will ultimately harm customers and Amazon's relationship with them.
Luckily, other retailers such as Best Buy and Target offer all the DVD and Blu-ray discs currently missing from Amazon.
And for anyone upset with Amazon's tactics, buying from other retailers may be the exact medicine needed to get Amazon to start cutting deals. The New York Times speculates that Amazon may be trying to cut better deals with suppliers to shore up huge losses to its bottom line including an expected $800 million shortfall this quarter.