Did Warner Bros. Pull Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard to Boost DVD Sales?
02.20.12 by Chris
UPDATE: According to a Netflix representative that contacted Reelz, Netflix has not had The Bodyguard streaming since the license expired last year, long before the death of Whitney Houston. The movie's unavailability has "nothing to do with Ms. Houston's unfortunate and untimely death."
When Whitney Houston died unexpectedly Feb. 11, U.K. fans noticed that prices for the singer's albums on iTunes increased by 60 percent, causing many to accuse Sony of price gauging and trying to profit off the singer's death. Now, there's another company in danger of being accused of doing the same.
Warner Bros. has reportedly pulled Houston's The Bodyguard from Netflix's streaming catalog so it could boost DVD sales of the movie in the wake of Houston's death.
According to Dan McDermott, host of Google Plus Week, streaming rights to the movie were pulled after Houston's death to "make a very large amount of money" from DVD sales.
On his Google+ page, McDermott said he went to watch The Bodyguard after watching Kevin Costner speak at Houston's funeral but found that it wasn't available streaming, something odd for a movie that is 20 years old. Comments on the movie's Netflix page mentioned that it had been available for streaming to Netflix customers up until her death on Feb. 11. McDermott called a Netflix representative and confirmed what he had suspected.
Below is a quote from a Netflix rep:
Okay Dan, I just went and talked to my main supervisor as to why the movie had been pulled and the reason it was pulled was the production company pulled the streaming rights from us because all the publicity after Whitney Houston's passing there was an opportunity to make really a very large amount of money on the DVD sales of her movies. So they're going to pull all the streaming titles we have of Whitney Houston so they can make more money off the DVD sales of her movies.
Warner Bros. is the studio that released The Bodyguard. As of today, the movie is not available for streaming and there's nothing on Netflix's site that shows if and when it was available to stream. Interestingly, the movie is available for streaming for Amazon Prime members and Houston's Waiting to Exhale is available for streaming on Netflix, via Starz Play. (Twentieth Century Fox released Waiting to Exhale)
A studio trying to benefit from a rise in interest of Houston's movies is not surprising but what is surprising is if Warner Bros. did pulled The Bodyguard after Houston's death, it reveals what kind of agreements Netflix has with studios when it comes to streaming rights.
Are you furious with Warner Bros. decision? Do you plan to buy a copy of The Bodyguard?