It feels like a long time since Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece hit cinemas in July this year, but yesterday The Dark Knight hit supermarket shelves nationwide, creating a frenzied hoarde of Bat-fans.
HMV coaxed potential shoppers into pre-ordering the epic for £11.99, and throwing in a graphic novel into the bargain, but then subsequently dropped the in-store price for £9.99 in the first week.
The reason? Other than almost betraying the hard-core fans who pre-ordered back in September, the emphasis has shifted from DVD to Blu-ray.
The ultra-cool format boasts increased capacity, allowing shed-loads of special features and numerous times better picture quality, but we’ve heard this before now, why is it that the shift in marketing has happened now?
Blu-rays war with HDDVD ended earlier this year, with the major film companies who had backed the losing format sheepishly creeping over to Blu-ray, and with Toshiba now having developing new players, the great war is over.
Retailers have waited to strike until Christmas because plenty of people will be forking out on Blu-ray players this year, now that the latest players have the option to connect to the internet to update themselves, and are finally trickling down in price to something affordable.
The Dark Knight was just the vehicle the shops needed to force Blu-ray to the front of people’s minds and is currently the highest selling Blu-ray in the USA and UK. Plus it’s not just an empty vessel, there’s oceans of hot action content and special features to get people’s tongues wagging, particularly the Joker’s altercation with an articulated lorry and the Batmobile’s destruction.
But will it last? DVD is only 10 years old this year and there’s little inducation of it going the way of the dodo already. The trouble is that you have to fork out on expensive full HD TVs and 7.1 sound to make it worthwhile and at £25 or so for the titles themselves, the price will have to drop a fair way before the mass market gets on board.
Public perceptions of the format are still positive, but only in another year or so will it be clear how well the retailers Christmas marketing paid off for them in the long run.
For the time being, I’ll be looking forward to seeing the film on ‘traditional’ DVD.