When I first wrote about the prospects of destructible DVDs 18 months ago, the fact that I was optimistic drew lots of email from those who felt otherwise. From the environmental (dead DVDs = landfill fodder) to the realistic (those with a pirate-friendly DVD burner could just burn a permanent copy) to the logistical (because the playing surface of the discs begins to wear away to the point of being unplayable two to three days after being exposed to air, how would retailers handle returns if the seals were broken in transit), the concerns weren't lost on me.
Yet before I admit defeat -- and I've lined up at the humble pie buffet before, so pride won't stop me from conceding that I was ultimately wrong -- I think Hollywood has to give the technology a fighting chance.
It didn't help that a month after Disney
So naturally the destructible DVDs flopped a few months later. Disney submitted older live action releases to the trial process -- titles that were already being marked down in the secondhand market. It just didn't make sense to pay $5to $7 for a disc that would wear away in a couple of days, unless the movie was a hot new release.
So this past weekend Noel opened in select theaters, along with another test of the Flexplay technology by pressing destructible DVDs for retail distribution this month. Finally, a true test? Not exactly. The holiday film has been critically panned. All of the major distributors passed on the seasonal flick that, despite an attractive cast of stars such as Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams, and Penelope Cruz, just didn't wow them at the Toronto Film Festival. Making matters worse is that the movie will be airing on Time Warner's
So last year it was Disney releasing destructible DVDs of films that weren't in demand, and this time around we have an independent distributor putting out a dud on the format that it will already be surrendering to free television in two weeks.
So let's see if a studio steps up to the plate with a legitimate attempt to make this technology fly. Let's see Viacom
Did Disney give up too quickly on destructible DVDs, or is it just a format that's doomed to fail? What would it take to have you buy one? All this and more -- in the Disney discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz really does smell humble pie this time. He owns shares in Disney.