Saturday, 10 March 2012

Universal Pictures VS LOVEFiLM: A Call to Arms

************ *********** PLEASE SEE MY UPDATE HERE ************** **********

Film fans, Lovefilm subscribers, the 'good' people at Universal Pictures.... what the flying f*ck is going on here?  I'm seriously pissed off and I'm not sure why it's taken me this long to explode but here it is: 

Since 2009 there has been a dispute between Lovefilm and Universal Pictures.  Lovefilm can't rent out any post-2009 Universal Pictures films.  This means just this month I cannot put Safe House, Wanderlust, Contraband or The Greatest Movie Ever Sold on my rental list.  I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!

Here's a list from Wikipedia of just some of the biggest and best releases that all us Lovefilm subscribers are unable to watch unless we fork out more for cinema tickets or buy the films on DVD or Blu-ray:


Fast & Furious
The Soloist
Land of the Lost
Public Enemies
Funny People
Inglourious Basterds
The Invention of Lying
Couples Retreat


The Wolfman
Green Zone
Repo Men
Robin Hood
Get Him to the Greek
Despicable Me
Charlie St. Cloud
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World


The Dilemma
The Adjustment Bureau
Fast Five
The Change-Up
Dream House
The Thing
Johnny English Reborn
Tower Heist

And here's five more to be concerned about in 2012!

American Reunion
Snow White & the Huntsman
The Bourne Legacy  

Am I wrong or is that pretty serious?  It's f*cking ridiculous is what it is.  I don't want to move to Netflix or Blockbuster as I really like Lovefilm.  If you want to read a great write up of the similarities and differences between Lovefilm and Netflix, head to this article on Front Room Cinema.  If you want to see why Lovefilm are rated the number one online rental service in the UK, head here.

I still think Lovefilm have a brilliant service and apart from this dispute I have no complaints about them.  They have arranged some amazing free screenings and Q&A's with the likes of Joe Cornish, Paddy Considine, Anna Faris, Danny Boyle and many others.  I think they are excellent value for money and the website is easy to use and filled with great news, features and competitions.   But this dispute pisses me off.

I phoned up Lovefilm to put my investigative journalism skills to the test and the guy from customer services said he couldn't tell me when the dispute would end.  He did say that it was either to do with licensing deals and Universal having an exclusive deal with another rental company OR it might be to do with the prohibitive cost of rental copies from Universal.  But he said he didn't know.  I should have pushed him and demanded he put me on the phone with someone who could tell me otherwise I'd cancel then and there but really I'm a pussy cat and I guess my hard-ass journalistic technique isn't quite there yet.

Anyway I'm sure this is more Universal's fault than Lovefilm's.  Every other film company lets their films be rented out by Lovefilm, so why not Universal?  I remember when I worked at Blockbuster and there was a dispute with Warner Bros that lead to Blockbuster not stocking several of their releases including Training Day.  It got resolved in the end.  Don't know how.  Don't care how.  But it did.

So now I have sent an email to Universal Pictures and this is where you all come in!  Are any of you fine readers and my new 'brothers and sisters in arms' with Lovefilm?  If so, have you noticed this stupid, ridiculous dispute?  Of course you have, and though I'm sure most of us can afford the odd cinema visit or purchase of a DVD or Blu-ray, that's not the frigging point.  The point is that we're being screwed!  We should have access to Universal's films on Lovefilm and something needs to be done!

Here is the email I sent Universal:
Dear Sir/Madam

I would like to know why Universal Pictures films are not available through the Lovefilm online rental service.

Do you make your films prohibitively expensive compared to all the other studios whose films are available on Lovefilm?


Are you binded by contracts with other rental services that rent Universal films?

OR is it neither of the above and if so what is the problem?

I pretty much watch all films through my Lovefilm subscription (approximately 20-25 per month) and have missed out on a huge number of your titles due to this.  I have still yet to see Robin Hood, Get Him to the Greek, Inglorious Basterds and countless others due to this problem.  I pay enough for my subscription to Lovefilm and therefore will not fork out more to go see your films at the cinema or buy them on DVD/Blu-ray.  I've noticed recently that I will also miss Contraband, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold and Safe House.

In an age where piracy is so very easy and tempting for many a film fan, is it not desirable for you to convince us to pay for your films somehow.  I don't want to illegally download films and I haven't done so but why should I pay extra for your films when I pay £13.27 a month to Lovefilm?

I would greatly appreciate a response and an end to this dispute.

Kind regards

(your name here!)
Now it's your turn!  Copy and paste this email, change whatever you want to make it your own personal email and send it to  Let's bombard them and get a response!  I'm not going to let this drop.  Let's put some people power in action!  Let me know if you're with me on this.  Even if you're not with Lovefilm.  Join us!

************ *********** PLEASE SEE MY UPDATE HERE ************** **********