After Whitney Houston died, the studio pulled the movie "The Bodyguard" from Netflix streaming in order to juice DVD sales, claims writer/producer/talk show host Dan McDermott
. The movie is still available on Amazon, who may have more significant clout with Warner Brothers than Netflix due to their massive retail presence. McDermott got an interesting quote from a Netflix support rep when he called in to get an answer.
"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."
There has been no official statement from Netflix, Kasdan Pictures or Warner Brothers on the move -- or which company made the call, but given Warner Brothers' previous attempts to strangle Netflix out of existence with new release delays and other licensing restrictions
, it isn't out of character. Regardless of why it was pulled, the movie industry still doesn't quite understand that making your content more difficult
to consume doesn't make sense when you're constantly complaining about piracy.Update
: Netflix has issued a statement
saying that McDermott's report is "simply not true" and that the streaming license expiration has "nothing to do with Ms. Houston’s unfortunate and untimely death." McDermott has issued a new post
saying he was completely wrong, as was the support rep he quoted.