I have previously whinged about region coding on Blu-ray. If you are considering purchasing a Blu-ray disc from overseas, particularly from the US, go first to the Blu-ray Region Code Info page and make sure that your contemplated purchase is in one of the green coloured ‘Region Free’ lines.
If the movie is distributed by Warner Bros, you’re likely to be in luck. I have just inspected this page and all the dozens of Warner Bros titles are region free. Brilliant, Warner Bros! I love you not only for your fine movies, but for providing wide access to them.
The only other label for which I’ve been able to find similar results has been Paramount. But I’m not certain Paramount is really back into the Blu-ray swing of things, having abandoned Blu-ray for HD DVD last year (it, like Warner Bros, started off releasing movies on both formats). The Paramount Blu-ray titles available on Amazon seem to have been around for a while, and at least one — Shooter — is selling in Blu-ray format from a minimum of $US57.95, suggesting that it is no longer available from the source, and remaining supplies are being bid up.
It’s interesting that the two companies that launched into Blu-ray and HD DVD agnostically are not (so far) using region codes on Blu-ray (HD DVD doesn’t support region coding). When Universal (which was HD DVD-only from the start) finally starts releasing Blu-ray discs, perhaps it also will be region free.
Also on Blu-ray Region Code Info, I notice that it lists the recent No Country for Old Men from Miramax as region free, while several older Miramax titles are region coded. Could it be that this studio, at least, is moving away from them?
There may continue to be a need for region coding, such as when the international distribution rights to a movie are held by a different company to that with US distribution rights. But I do wonder why companies such as Twentieth Century Fox and Sony and Disney/Buena Vista needlessly complicate their inventories. I’ve just noticed that Fox has applied region coding to Wall Street, which was made way back in 1987 for goodness sakes. Worse yet? Image Entertainment has released in the US a Blu-ray version of Breaker Morant, a 1980 Australian film. But it is region A coded, so it can’t be played on Australian Blu-ray players.