Amazon Suspends Preorders of Warner Bros. DVD Titles, Including ‘Lego Movie’

The Lego Movie

Amazon.com has stopped taking DVD preorders for upcoming Warner Bros. Home Video releases, including the studio’s recent hit “The Lego Movie,” as the companies wrangle over contract terms.

Pages on Amazon for several Warners DVD titles — “The Lego Movie” (set to release on Blu-ray and DVD June 17); “300: Rise of an Empire” (June 24); “Winter’s Tale” (June 24); and “Transcendence” (July 22) — no longer offer customers an option to purchase them. The pages include the message: “Sign up to be notified when this item becomes available.”

The standoff appears similar to Amazon’s public fight with Hachette Book Group, with the ecommerce giant delaying shipments of the publisher’s titles by up to four weeks and not taking preorders. Hachette last week announced it was laying off 3% of its employees as the dispute with Amazon drags on.

Amazon stopped taking preorders for Warner Bros. DVDs in mid-May, according to the New York Times, which reported on the dispute Tuesday.

However, Amazon continues to sell digital copies of each of the movies through Amazon Instant Video. “The Lego Movie,” for example, is currently available for $19.96 in HD and $14.96 in SD through the service. Sci-fi pic “Transcendence,” starring Johnny Depp, is available for digital preorder via Instant Video.

Reps for Warner Bros. and Amazon declined to comment.

The fight between Warner Bros. and Amazon differs from the Hachette situation, because Amazon holds tremendous power in the book market. The Seattle e-retailer doesn’t command the same kind of clout in movie or TV distribution, which include competitors that run the gamut from Apple’s iTunes, Netflix, Best Buy and Walmart. In addition, Warner Bros. operates its own direct-to-consumer DVD business, WBShop.com, where “Lego Movie” is also available for purchase.

It’s also worth noting that Amazon is still selling other Warner Bros. DVDs, such as the recently released “The Nutty Professor: 50th Anniversary Edition.”

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