Star Wars: The Last Jedi had its Blu Ray and DVD release earlier this week. And since no story related to this film can happen without an all-out descent into a fan civil war, it came with inevitable controversy.
The Blu ray release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi is currently sold out at Amazon. This, of course, has been used as proof of everything from Amazon under-buying copies to perceived lack of interest, to this being the most popular Star Wars ever and haters are an illusion. And as is usually the case with these sorts of things, neither is true.
The actual reasoning behind the Amazon issue is cloudy, but it is not limited to this release. This is a problem that has been impacting all major Disney releases for years. Disney and Amazon have had some sort of feud going over their Blu ray releases, and as a result, they tend to not be made available on Amazon until a few weeks after their release.
I personally first noticed this a couple years ago when trying to get a release day pre-order of Disney’s Moana. This article here from a Disney fan site mentioned it back then as impacting Rogue One and Doctor Strange as well. But it apparently goes back much farther than that as you can see from this 2014 Huffington Post piece here.
These sorts of “aggressive negotiations” happen in the industry all the time. Maybe Disney asks too much for release day copies. Maybe Amazon wants too much of a share of the purchase price. No one outside of the two companies themselves knows what the point of contention actually is, but it’s clear that neither of them is budging.
Usually these sorts of hold outs end pretty quickly as the smaller party will eventually cave to demands. But in the case of Disney vs. Amazon, we have a bit of an immovable object and unstoppable force problem. These companies are both behemoths and can be as stubborn as they want. Amazon isn’t going to lose customers because they don’t have Disney releases, and Disney (and its seemingly endless parade of ridiculously popular movies) has fans that will find their copies elsewhere. So, this may go on for a long time.
Due to a hold out like this at what is by far the number one online retailer, you’ll also see impacts downstream as well. When I picked up my copy of Thor a few weeks ago, Best Buy was already half sold out by mid-day Tuesday. Other retailers like Target or Walmart may sell out both in store and online quicker as well. All this creates the appearance of scarcity, which I’m sure Disney doesn’t mind too much.
So no, don’t read anything into The Last Jedi’s current status at Amazon. It was the same Thor: Ragnarok and Coco. It will likely be the same for Black Panther, and Solo, and Infinity War. This is not the result of any popularity, or lack thereof. It’s just the product of two giant corporations fighting over money, as they are wont to do.