Is this the future of DVDs?
Related: Marvel Has “Big Plans” for Their New Female Superhero
Led by Marvel Studios’ President, Kevin Feige, and now under the ownership of The Walt Disney Company, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) based on the popular Marvel Comics, has transformed the superhero film landscape, profoundly influencing the entire movie industry. The peak of the MCU’s Phase Three arrived with the release of Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), representing a significant milestone for the franchise by demonstrating its extraordinary growth and cementing itself in the world of entertainment. This period also marked the conclusion of the initial three phases of the MCU, known as the Infinity Saga.
As the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) enters the second act of its new Saga, which includes Phase Four, Phase Five, and Phase Six, significant changes are on the horizon. The landscape is shifting with the emergence of a formidable competitor in the form of James Gunn’s DC Universe, following his transition from Marvel’s own Guardians of the Galaxy director to CEO of DC Studios. On top of that, the WGA (Writers Guild of America) and SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) are both on concurrent strikes. These new challenge will force Marvel Studios to carefully evaluate their future strategies — no longer can the MCU maintain its near monopoly of the superhero movie genre, and continue pumping out new MCU content at the same pace as they were before.
Related: Marvel Faces Backlash as ‘WandaVision’ Sequel Reportedly Adds “Incestuous Teen Relationship”
To retain the loyalty of both Marvel fans and casual viewers, the MCU must innovate and bring fresh, captivating elements to the table, ensuring continued success and audience engagement. It’s therefore a little surprising that they’re making moves like this at a time when customer retention (and satisfaction) needs to be at a high.
Disney’s newest decision: removing DVDs
Recently, it was revealed by Marvel Studios (via The Direct) that they will be releasing a special steelbox edition of their popular Emmy Award-winning Disney+ show, WandaVision (2021). Elizabeth Olsen’s portrayal of Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff got a massive expansion in WandaVision (2021) opposite Paul Bettany’s Vision, which was so popular that it has two intended spin-off/sequels (Vision Quest, and Agatha: Coven of Chaos — which might unfortunately be in production hell).
The new WandaVision release would be a physical collection of “an exclusive steelbook and full slip, an envelope, a folder, character cards, and postcards”. These exclusive steelbooks will be designed by Manta Lab, in a “full glossy” finish. Interestingly, this list of steelbox contents is missing one vital thing — the actual physical disc.
This essentially relegates the physical steelbox to a full collector’s product — and only that — since it is sans actual BluRay or DVD disc. Currently, there is no indication that there will even be a digital download available, in the form of a either a link or a QR code.
Naturally, this is a departure from the norm, and a clear indication that Disney appear to be unwilling to put their Disney+ Marvel Studios releases on actual BluRay or DVD. As of late, it’s not unheard of for artists in the music industry to remove physical CDs from “albums” featuring photo and lyric books or other merchandise — but there is usually a version that does include either a physical CD or vinyl also offered as an option for fans.
This decision by Marvel Studios, and seemingly, its parent company Disney, might mark a shift in consumer trends — where the expectation for a physical box set to include a disc is just no longer the norm.
What do you think about the new WandaVision steelbox not including physical discs? Would you buy a DVD without a real disc? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
More on WandaVision:
Marking its first official Disney+ debut of Phase Four, WandaVision presents an intriguing fourth-wall breaking setup. The series revolves around Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff (played by Elizabeth Olsen) and her (canonically dead) partner Vision (portrayed by Paul Bettany) living seemingly idyllic lives in the quaint suburban town of Westview, New Jersey. However, as reality begins to unravel, a complex and dark mystery unfolds, delving into themes of grief, trauma, and the very essence of reality itself. Amidst the enigma, the show explores the secrets surrounding Wanda and Vision’s children, Billy Maximoff (played by Julian Hilliard) and Tommy Maximoff (portrayed by Jett Klyne). The stellar cast also features Kathryn Hahn as Agnes/Agatha Harkness, Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau, Randall Park as Jimmy Woo, Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis, Evan Peters as Ralph Bohner/Quicksilver/Pietro Maximoff, Debra Jo Rupp as Mrs. Hart, and Fred Melamed as Arthur Hart.
Spinoff sequels Agatha: Coven of Chaos and VisionQuest are also due to debut on Disney+.