Movie Studios Blocking Special Features On Rental DVDs

In an apparent effort to give customers a reason to buy DVDs instead of renting them, movie studios have begun disabling certain features of new releases on discs rented out by Blockbuster and Netflix.

Consumerist reader Joseph brought this to our attention after he spent $3.99 to rent the DVD of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World from Blockbuster. When he went to the disc’s main menu and attempted to watch the Blooper Reel special feature, he was greeted by a screen telling him: “This disc is intended for rental purposes and only includes the feature film. Own it on Blu-Ray or DVD to view these bonus features and complete your movie watching experience.”

Over at HackingNetflix, they have the same report from a reader who rented the disc from Netflix. The site also claims that the Netflix version of the disc for hit Disney/Pixar film Up contains no captions for the same reason.

Let’s go back to a frustrated Joseph for his final thoughts:

I didn’t pay $3.99 to just watch the movie itself; I paid $3.99 to rent the physical DVD for a week. To have full access to the entire DVD and everything contained within the menus. What made it worse was that Blockbuster gave me absoutely no warning that the DVD had its Special Features locked. There was no warning label or sticker or anything of the sort.

Should rental companies be alerting customers that the special features are blocked on these discs?

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.