Amazon is playing hardball with Disney in ongoing contract negotiations. The Seattle based e-commerce giant has suspended pre-orders for all future DVD and Blu-Ray releases including two of the summers top hits, Captain America and Maleficent. These films combined earned over $700 million worldwide.
The hardball tactics employed by Amazon is designed to get the new contract signed as soon as possible. The suspension of DVD and Blu-Ray pre-orders is meant to give Disney “motivation” to fast track the new contract.
The elimination of pre-orders is nothing new for Amazon and has been standard business fare over the course of the past few years. Earlier this summer they did the same thing to Warner Bros before the new Lego Movie was slatted for a home release. Ultimately, the two sides reached an accord, and DVD and Blu-ray disc sales resumed.
Customers are buying less DVD and Blu-Ray movies and instead have gravitated towards online streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and iTunes. Despite all of this, home video sales still continue to play an important role in underwriting the cost of the film.
Amazons tactics with the film industry has certainly not garnered the type of press as their ongoing dispute with publishing giant Hachette. The two sides have been locked in a bitter contract dispute since May 2014. This is prompting many public statements released by Amazon, Hachette and Authors United.
Authors United has taken out a full page ad in the sundays edition of the New York Times. They accuse the online retailer of slowing delivery of Hachette’s books, refusing to discount its works, and saying its books are unavailable. The letter is backed by many big-name writers, including Douglas Preston, Stephen King and John Grisham. The letter says the authors are not choosing sides, but urges Amazon to stop “hurting authors” as part of the negotiations.