November 12, 2008 // 8:32 pm
- Nine years ago, the DVD of "The Matrix" shattered records and catapulted the budding DVD format into the mainstream. Can "The Dark Knight" do the same thing for Blu-ray?
The Blu-ray release of "The Dark Knight" is slated to Dec. 9, and as Video Business [via High-Def Digest
] reports, Warner Brothers has more than a million Blu-ray copies of the Batman blockbuster teed up for retailers–reportedly, the most ever for a Blu-ray movie to date.
Indeed, "The Dark Knight" is perhaps the biggest gotta-have Blu-ray title yet, bigger even than "Iron Man" (which has sold about 500,000 Blu-ray copies so far, according to Video Business) and "Transformers."
But here's the big question: Will the popularity of "TDK" translate into a tipping point for Blu-ray, as "The Matrix" (which was the first DVD to ship more than 1.5 million units back in 1999) did for DVD?
Hard to say. On the one hand, as an eager tech geek myself, I can't think of a better combo than, say, a PlayStation 3 (or another Blu-ray player) and a Blu-ray copy of "Dark Knight" under the tree. (OK, a brand-new MacBook Pro and an iPhone 3G would be pretty sweet, too, but you get my drift.)
And besides being the biggest blockbuster of the year–of several years, for that matter–the "Dark Knight" Blu-ray is set to come with some unique, HD-friendly special features, including full-frame (16:9) sequences that mirror the eye-popping action segments in the IMAX release.
Then again, just because Warners plans to ship a million "Dark Knight" Blu-rays doesn't mean it'll sell a million of them, or that consumers will line up to buy their first Blu-ray decks.
Consider: Even though Blu-ray player prices are finally starting to fall south of $200, the bleak economic picture of 2008 is a far cry from the booming economy of 1999, when conspicuous consumption ($300 for a 1999-model DVD player ... sure!) was the name of the game. I'm putting off several big-ticket (read: $200+) tech purchases myself, and I'm betting you are, too.
And then there's the fact that for most people, the difference between Blu-ray and DVD isn't nearly as stark as it was between DVD and lowly old VHS.
Personally, I love the way my Blu-rays look on my 1080p, 46-inch Sony Bravia–but I still run into plenty of relatively discriminating viewers who say that their upscaling DVD decks look just fine, thanks very much. (And had I not bought my PS3 before the crash of '08, I might be saying the same thing.)
So, I'm curious: Will the release of "Dark Knight" convince any of you to go Blu? Or are you content to stick with DVD?