Musings & Thoughts for Wednesday, June 9, 2021, or: Indiana Jones and the Search for the Delayed Shipment (of 4K Blu-rays)

(C) 2021 Paramount Home Media Distribution & Lucasfilm Ltd.

Hi there, Dear Reader. It’s morning here in New Hometown, Florida on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Presently, the temperature is 78˚F (26˚C) under sunny skies. With the wind blowing from the southeast at 4 MPH (6 KM/H) and humidity at 47%, the heat index is 77˚F (25˚C). Today’s forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and a high of 92˚F (33˚C). Tonight, we can expect partly cloudy skies; the low will be 73˚F (23˚C). The Air Quality Index (AQI) is 46 or Good.

Well, it looks as though many of us who pre-ordered the Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection 4K UHD box sets that officially dropped yesterday are going to have to wait days, perhaps even weeks, before we receive them.

In a totally predictable case of demand being greater than supply, Paramount Home Media Distribution has reportedly notified retailers that the only available 4K UHD sets of the four Indiana Jones films released between 1981 and 2008 are the steelbook editions slated for Target and Best Buy, and that consumers who ordered the “standard” packaging box set via Amazon and other online emporiums are going to have sit tight.

Per The Digital Bits’ editor Bill Hunt, the facilities which actually make the 4K UHD discs are having a hard time keeping up with the demand for physical discs, especially at a time when people still stuck at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic are turning to 2K Blu-ray and 4K UHD discs for their home media escapes.

Here’s what Hunt had to say yesterday in his column, NEW BLU-RAY REVIEWS, PLUS INDIANA JONES 4K STREETS TODAY (SORT OF) & THE REMASTERED FILMS ARE NOW AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL:

You will all no doubt be well aware that the Indiana Jones 4-Movie Collection technically streets today. But many of you will find that your pre-order copies are delayed in shipping, while other fans got their pre-orders over the weekend. The reason for this is that replication capacity is maxed out at the moment, struggling to keep up with demand. Steelbook product appears to have been replicated first—virtually everyone who got their pre-ordered discs over the weekend had ordered the Steelbook SKU. And retail sources tell me today that most of what you’ll find in stock in your local Target or Best Buy today are Steelbook copies. Regular packaging SKUs should arrive in stores by next week. So don’t be surprised if you walk into your local store today and all they have are Steelbooks. And don’t be surprised if your pre-ordered copies are delayed in shipping by a week or two. Also, don’t forget that the Blu-ray repackage now in stores (that uses the same art as the new 4K remastered set) is NOT remastered—they’re simply repackaged versions of the existing Blu-rays. I don’t know this for a fact, but my suspicion is that remastered Blu-ray SKUs will come out sometime next year, when Indy 5 hits theaters or home video.

By the way, we believe that this maxed-out replication capacity is the reason Warner Bros. Home Entertainment hasn’t yet announced the Middle Earth 4K/BD Ultimate Collection that they hinted last fall was coming this summer. So don’t be surprised if that release slips to later in the year.

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

I knew that something was up with my order – which, by the way, I made on Amazon on March 16, the day after Paramount announced it was releasing Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 4K UHD discs – when it did not ship on Monday night. And after I published yesterday’s post, I received an email from Amazon informing me of the delay.

Here is what the email said:

We’re encountering a delay in shipping your order. We’ll make every effort to get the delayed item to you as soon as possible. If you still want this item, please confirm below. We apologize for the delay.

We will email you as soon as we have a delivery date.

So, there it is.

If I recall correctly, the same thing happened last year when Universal released the 45th Anniversary edition of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws on 4K. I don’t remember the dates now, and I’m not interested in rummaging through my entire Amazon order history for 2020, but I remember that Amazon had to send me a similar email last year when Universal experienced the same issues with supply and demand, exacerbated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic both on demand[1] and on the production end.

While I am not crushingly disappointed by the delay, I think that Paramount Home Media Distribution should have done a better job in planning this release. Indiana Jones is a popular franchise, and since this was a 40th Anniversary re-release, the execs in charge of the 4K UHD should have anticipated a higher-than-usual demand for this set. Or at least made less steelbooks and enough pressed cardboard slipcover boxed sets to fulfill some of the pre-orders.

Promotional photo of the 2012 2K Blu-ray Digibook set. (C) 2012 Paramount Home Media Distribution and Lucasfilm Ltd.

Other than that, all I can do is wait for Amazon to email me with the new shipping date and just watch the versions I have on DVD and 2K Blu-ray.


[1] Streaming is a decent medium; I don’t have a cable box in my room because….reasons, I guess….so like it or not, if I want to use my 4K UHD TV as anything besides a screen to watch my DVDs, Blu-rays, and 4K discs, I have to stream. Normally I watch stuff on Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, or Disney+, but every so often – if I remember – I will watch national news on the various network apps installed on my smart TV.

The problem with streaming is that it is dependent on the Wi-Fi router here, since technically the data is being transmitted not over the air like old-school analog TV but over the Internet. In pre-pandemic times, before people had to work remotely from home, there wasn’t that much of a demand for broadband. Now, with millions of people still unvaccinated or opting to work from home still, there is an increased demand for broadband. As a result, there isn’t enough bandwith to go around for everyone, so reception on a Wi-Fi can often be sluggish or unreliable.

Physical discs, though, don’t have that issue. They don’t need Wi-Fi (unless you want to use BD-Live interactive features), thus they don’t contribute to the bandwith deficit problem. That’s why I think it is shortsighted to ditch physical media in favor of streaming.

Source: https://thedigitalbits.com/columns/my-two-cents/060821-1130

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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