So I was rooting around the Disney+ streaming service, getting the lay of the land. All the other movie sites were going nuts that Tony Stark's deleted death scene from Avengers: Endgame had finally been released. If you watch it, you'll find that they were right to cut it. It doesn't work. It would have stopped the movie stone-dead if they kept it in.
What the sites don't tell us is that all the deleted scenes, director's commentaries, intro videos, blooper reels and behind-the-scenes extras from the Blu-Ray and DVD are also on Disney+. I looked around at all the movies, especially the recent ones. That's Captain Marvel, Frozen, Inside Out, the Toy Story franchise… this makes owning the Blu-Rays or DVDs redundant if you subscribe to Disney+.
Or does it?
The difference Between Owning and Subscribing
Blu-Ray and DVD release of a major movie usually includes extras like deleted scenes, blooper reels, director's commentary, making-of and puff pieces. This is to make buying them worthwhile. You get extras on top of just the movie. Nowadays, digital sales are taking a chunk out of physical media sales, and the digital versions of movies also include the same extras.
Disney+ aims to be your one-stop shop for all movies made by Disney, be it Pixar, the Star Wars franchise or the Marvel Studios movies. It's not completely there yet, but it's on its way. By including the extras that come with the most popular movies, the streaming service wants to keep subscribers hooked. It makes a case for keeping up the subscription to have those movies and their extras on demand.
The thing is, you need a continuous internet connection to have access to it all. And you have to keep paying the monthly subscription. The upside is you don't have more physical media taking up space in your home.
Disney+ Versions Are Not Perfect
On the other hand, owning physical media means you have a copy of the movie forever, not on a lease and not when you have the internet. You don't own any of the media on your streaming service. The service can yank the movie out of circulation at its discretion.
Also, not all the movies' extras are on Disney+. The Marvel Studios original narrative shorts that were bonuses on the Blu-Ray and DVD releases are not on Disney+. Not all the extras of the Pixar movies are on the service either.
There's also the flawed version of shows and movies. There are already complaints that The Simpsons on Disney+ have their aspect ratios cropped, which cuts out visual gags. And some episodes are missing, so the series is incomplete on the service. Owners of the DVD boxsets are better off holding onto them.
There's a convenience to subscribing to Disney+, but the titles are still not complete. And the service is not forever. One day, it could go away. That may be a long way away, but it's always going to hang in the air. To own physical copies insures permanence in your collection without any hassle like continuing to pay every month.
The real hook of subscribing to a streaming service like Disney+, Hulu or Netflix is the original content – the exclusive movies and TV shows – that's only available on the service and not in any physical form.
But when it comes to classic titles, owning the physical copies is still king.