Deluxe Movie Packaging: same movie, bigger box

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 19th November 2013.    

Many moons ago, I spent a North American summer working as the World’s Oldest Camp Counsellor™. It was a rich kids’ camp and I will never forget parental unit visiting day. One of the campers in my cabin was handed a brand new music CD as a gift. He immediately took the disc out to play the inevitably horrible music contained within, throwing the case and liner notes in the bin, or trash in this instance. As a music collector I was shocked. Although the music is, obviously, the most important element, I love having my CDs stored in their cases on my bookshelf. Besides, how on earth would he know the names of the songs?

Fast forward to today and music CDs are practically an endangered species. However, when it comes to movies, the industry has shifted to the opposite extreme. Perusing the shelves at my favourite non-specific movie retailer and their online store on the weekend, it was hard not to notice that the emphasis is now on the packaging, not the film. Why buy just the film on your preferred format? You need to shell out the extra bucks for a fancy box too.

Here are my favourite deluxe editions that I am sure will be on many a Christmas wish list.


Remember everyone’s favourite alien? No, not Lady Gaga, I’m referring to E.T. Steven Spielberg’s sublime masterpiece hit shelves last year in beautiful high definition blu-ray to celebrate its 30th anniversary.  The movie on blu-ray can be picked up for a reasonable $13, but why stop there? For just an extra $150 you can get the film with a 26cm “collectible” replica of E.T.’s spaceship complete with flashing lights, music and moving parts. That’s a very expensive box. I’m sure a real spaceship wouldn’t cost much more. Maybe Clive Palmer will build me one if I ask nicely.

i robot

If more redundant films are your thing, how about I, Robot? Recently released in 3D (I’m not sure why), the disc will set you back about $30. For $120 more, you can buy the deluxe gift set which includes a full scale robot head bust. For that price, I don’t think anyone is getting a gift, except the film distributor. Forgettable film, unforgettable packaging…


Everyone seems to love Breaking Bad at the moment. Having recently completed a brilliant 5 season run, the complete series will be released later this month on blu-ray for around $150.  Add an extra $85 and you can get your hands on the very same discs, stored in a replica money barrel, as well as a commemorative coin and apron. What, no replica crystal meth too?

The X-Men franchise has vacuumed up over $1 billion worldwide. This Christmas, you can add to this total by purchasing the Adamantium Collection. That’s six discs (5 of them already available as budget titles) stored in a weird looking stand which features a replica of Wolverine’s bladed fist for $170. Please note that only right handed versions are available. I don’t know about you, but I have enough trouble keeping my discs scratch free without storing them in a box with claws.


I probably should mention the Predator 3D deluxe edition which comes with a predator’s head and the Under the Dome limited edition set with the discs stored (wait for it) under a dome. For true fans of the show, the dome should be sealed so you can’t open it.


As a cinephile, I’m all about the films, not the elaborate packaging. I’m (mostly) with the summer camp kid on this one. Just give me the movie in a boring old case. The film should take me to other places and worlds, not the box.


Film Props: The Ultimate Collectible

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 24th August 2010.

Are you the ultimate movie fan? Is there one film that floats your boat the most? The problem is, how do you show your true devotion? Buying the DVD or blu-ray disc is an obvious choice, but anyone can do that. You can tell the world online, but who cares what a bunch of nerds think? You might buy the poster and frame it on your wall, but between your local cinema and the video store, posters are a dime a dozen.

For the hardcore movie devotee there is a new level of fandom, owning a genuine prop from the production. Why worship a poster of that Predator when you can actually buy a genuine life size Predator costume?

Classically, film studios warehoused and archived their costumes and props to be reused. In recent times, modern manufacturing techniques combined with the sheer cost of storing and maintaining all of these items have resulted in film studios beginning to offload these props and costumes to collectors.

Fox Studios currently operate an ebay store called VIP Fan Auctions. Collectibles from such films as G.I. Joe, Up in the Air and Shutter Island have been up for auction recently. I would think that the most highly prized collectible from Shutter Island would be the script. If I owned that, I might have a chance to work out what exactly happened in that brain boggling flick. The script for G.I. Joe would also be valuable and rare, especially since I’m not entirely sure that the movie was made with one.

By the time you read this column, auctions will be closing on a bunch of items from recently axed Fox shows Ugly Betty and 24. Fancy owning Betty Suarez’ rabbit fur scarf or Jack Bauer’s long-sleeve thermal shirt? Bid now, but be warned. The latter is currently sitting at US$630.

The best source of film props and costumes I have found so far is The Prop Store. Based in London and Los Angeles, they will ship your collectible to anywhere in the world, for a price. Their website is a film geek’s paradise, but be prepared to pay top dollar. Rest assured though, they do offer an interest free payment plan. With fixed prices, there’s no chance of that annoying last second ebay gazumping.

Perhaps you’re a fan of the Batman movies? For just US$12000 you can own Val Kilmer’s cowl and chest armour, complete with those controversial nipples. Lovingly mounted on a custom build frame, you’ll be pleased to know that your bat ears have been stuffed to keep them “looking pointy and ready for business.”

Gremlins 2: The New Batch was a fun sequel which took Gizmo and pals to the Big Apple. With a price tag of US$4995, you can take home a real Gremlin, which featured in the background of the film. Constructed of foam latex, this trouble making critter has animatronic arms and moving clawed fingers.

At the more affordable end of the scale are smaller prop items which were usually mass produced for the production. A bus schedule from Speed will only set you back US$145. A chocolate bar label from Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a bargain at US$59. Three balloons featuring the face of Orlando Bloom (or Orloondo Bland as I like to call him, sorry Miranda) used in the film The Calcium Kid can be yours for only US$12.

So in these uncertain financial times, why risk your future on gold or stocks? The only sound investment nowadays is in Alien egg sacs and Back to the Future hoverboards.

Published in: on August 26, 2010 at 13:08  Leave a Comment  
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