Steelbook madness: WTF?

I was talking to someone the other day about a movie and they said they wanted to buy it, but only when the steelbook version came out. I don’t buy many movies these days thanks to my Netflix subscription, so I had no idea what the hell they were talking about, and after looking into it I’m still confused.

Are people really paying a big premium to get the same movie you’d get in a plastic case in a steel one? From what I can see these don’t come with any extras other than the fancy case, so I find it difficult to believe that people are not only willing but desperate to shell out two to three times as much for something so completely, utterly, entirely useless. In fact, many re-buy movies they’ve already purchased in the same format just so they can have the steelbook edition, and some of the steelbooks are larger than standard DVD and Blu-ray cases so you can’t even store them properly on shelving designed specifically for those formats.

Beanie Babies make more sense, because they are the things you’re collecting. There’s nothing more to them. These steelbook things have, you know, movies inside. Are are these people trying to prove their love for the movies by getting the steelbooks? Do they sit around gawking at the cases, or show them off to friends? I can’t wrap my head around the logic behind a decision like this that costs extra yet does zero to improve your appreciation for a film.

People like things and will pay a premium for them. What’s the issue here, again?

No issue, I just didn’t know if I was missing anything and these come with extra discs or film cels or some other collectible thing to set themselves apart other than the packaging. I saw a thread about it at CAG last night, too, where people were going ape over some upcoming steelcase releases. They were talking about opening new credit cards to buy hundreds of dollars worth of releases that are available for a fraction of that in traditional packaging, and I was just curious if there was more to it than a tulip craze. Guess not.

I have two steelbook DVDs, and they were both exactly the same cost and had the same contents as the two-disc special editions of the movies in regular packaging (which include special features, making of docs, deleted scenes, a digital copy for your PC/iPod, etc.) Many big DVD releases come in a bare-bones inexpensive version and a special edition with extras and making-of-features. If you like a film enough to get the special edition, why not get the steelbook for the same price (which is what I did).

That I can understand. Price being equal, if you prefer the steelcase, why not? It’s just the Pokemon frenzy I see surrounding these that I don’t get. People are reselling the cases on eBay, people are re-buying movies they already have, college kids on meager budgets are opening new credit card accounts to get them, etc.

I understand the collector’s mentality, suffering from it myself somewhat, but this struck me as a particularly odd thing to collect. I can’t wrap my head around caring that much about something you open to get to the thing you really care about. And it’s not even like a nice leather-bound edition of a book where it looks fantastic on a shelf and you get to hold it the entire time you’re reading it.

To each their own, I guess. It just seemed odd they’ve sparked some sort of collector craze.

people are re-buying movies they already have

Well, to be fair, this is nothing new. People buy new versions of crap they already have all the time. Witness any time Nintendo does a Mario or Zelda re-issue on a new platform - cha-ching!

Even that makes sense to me, though. People often trade off old systems and games, or they just want to play it on their new console without having to drag out and hook up the old one. There’s at least some value-add involved. If you want to frame it in those terms imagine this: Nintendo releases Zelda on the Wii in a plastic case. You buy it. Then they re-issue Zelda on the Wii in a metal case. You buy it. That makes no sense to me.

I have the painted tin case for Evil Dead 2. I liked the artwork and didn’t cost much (if anything more) than what the normal case would have been. Since then, I’ve really paired down my DVD collection, it’s one of the few DVD’s I’ve held on to. Speaking of which, I should probably sell off what I have left.