When popping in disc one of Back to the Future on Blu-ray, the giddy waves of excitement coursing through me were so intense that I almost missed something different. Universal was thanking me for buying their product instead of lecturing me on the evils of piracy. We’ve all been subjected to horrible ads that show SWAT teams hunting down bootleggers or commercials that equate downloading a Jonas Brothers concert to stealing a car. In Germany there was a terrible ad in cinemas of a nerd refusing to go to bed with his super sexy girlfriend because he was too busy burning DVDs.
The irony is that these condescending messages are only seen by those who spend money on a film, no matter if it’s buying or renting. Anyone who has watched a pirated film knows these stern lectures aren’t included. Fifty megs of that Avatar download isn’t dedicated to a public service announcement. No, only those who legally access films are harassed by studios for being potential thieves.
The simple “Thank You!” that’s showing up on Universal releases is accompanied by a cheerful voiceover over saying that buying stuff helps support local film and television industries. I can dig that. The standard text screen of copyright notice is still there, but those actually serve a purpose and are subdued enough to be tolerable. So big props to Universal for losing the attitude and making with the gratitude. You make me feel awesome for spending money.