When I buy new Blu-rays, they don't include commentary from the cast & crew. This was one of the main reasons I bought movies to begin with. Commentary was standard on every DVD 10-15 years ago. Special features in general are lacking in Blu-rays nowadays. Why do they no longer offer this?

What is especially interesting about this, is that studios now will spend upwards of $100 million in promotion and tie-ins with any given movie. Take a movie like Minions, for example. One of the biggest promotional campaigns of all time. But on the Blu-ray, no commentary. Even good movies, like the Peanuts movie, and Zootopia, from Disney of all companies, have no commentary. People now need to buy expensive "art of" books, in order to find any in-depth overview to the "making of" for these movies.

In fact, pretty much every movie that's come out within the past few years has no commentary track whatsoever. With some older movies, they will at least transfer the DVD commentary over to their Blu-ray releases. So why is this? Why have distribution companies ceased offering commentary as a standard feature on Blu-rays?

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    The media still sells, as the overwhelming majority of buyers doesn't care for the extras, but those who do are willing to pay extra. Seems like a simple economic decision for me.
    – his
    Sep 2, 2016 at 8:41
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    Do you have numbers to back up your claim, outside of anecdotes?
    – BCdotWEB
    Sep 2, 2016 at 9:40
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    I don't think audio commentaries were a standard 10-15 years ago (I love audio commentaries and have always been checking the special features before buying a DVD). And there are plenty of movies today that have Blu-ray commentary tracks, e.g. the Marvel movies (including Deadpool), The Jungle Book, Star Wars The Force Awakens, The Martian, MI: Rogue Nation,...
    – Oliver_C
    Sep 2, 2016 at 9:42
  • I tried to disarm the phrasing a little. This seems like a quite interesting question at its core (if the premise holds), but keep in mind that we're not your personal complaint box.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Sep 2, 2016 at 9:42
  • DVD commentary and "making of" content is like any bio-pic: formulaic treatment of the mundane. Often producers don't want to bother with the extra hassle of a documentary or commentary crew and production effort. Without A-list talent that is just as engaging off camera as on, the content is usually very trivial which can detract from the magic of the movie$.
    – MmmHmm
    Apr 13, 2017 at 3:06

3 Answers 3


The quick and dirty answer is that time and budgets both seem to be in short supply. And, according to this Den of Geek article from 2011, it seems like this trend has been going on for quite some time. People just don't seem to be as interested in the novelty of listening to people talk about a movie while it's playing, and those commentary tracks take time and money to produce. So, why spend money on something only a small segment of your audience is even going to enjoy?

While I, too, love the extras, not everyone is willing to watch The Perfect Storm (2000) 3 times; once with each commentary and once with the original theatrical audio track.

As an aside, The Perfect Storm probably has the best commentary tracks of any movie I own. I enjoy Brad Pitt breaking George Clooney's balls on the Ocean's Eleven (2001) commentary too (if you can find the version with Pitt and Damon), and Robert Downey Jr staying in character for the whole commentary on Tropic Thunder (2008) is amusing, but I've wasted months of my life (in 2-hour intervals) listening to horrid, uninteresting commentary like the one on The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005), where Leslie Mann comes off as the most unfunny comedy actress to ever live, and Seth Rogen is more interested in being the center of attention than to actually tell you anything interesting about the movie.

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    I can't realyl see what the last paragraph about your favourite commentary tracks really adds to the answer. You might want to point out the connection a little more clearly.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Sep 2, 2016 at 15:07
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    It just serves to prove that the more casual movie fan can waste a lot of their life on the commentary tracks, and people don't always have that much time to invest in what may be a waste of time. Plus, I just pointed out a few examples in case any readers were looking for good commentary tracks, and one example where people shouldn't bother. Time is money! Sep 2, 2016 at 15:11
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    "I just pointed out a few examples in case any readers were looking for good commentary tracks, and one example where people shouldn't bother." - Yeah, that's what it read like, which isn't the point of this question and its answers the slightest. But granted, the other explanation indeed makes some sense, even if there's still quite a bit fluff to bring that point across.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Sep 2, 2016 at 15:13
  • It seems like the expense involved in putting a microphone in front of some actors or staff while they watch the DVD would be extremely minimal, given the complete lack of required sound quality, synchronization, etc. Adding a separate audio track is pretty basic stuff with today's technology. "As an aside," I'm probably going to listen to the 40 Year Old Virgin commentary now to hear what you're referring to. Reverse psychology!! Sep 2, 2016 at 15:21
  • @AndrewMattson - Ha! It worked! Or did it...? ;o) Sep 2, 2016 at 15:26

I haven't noticed commentaries becoming rarer myself, the only semi-documented reason I can think of is that the actors, writers and other people involved are concerned that dissecting and analyzing the movie or TV show will harm the "magic" and reduce the necessary suspension of disbelief. Joss Whedon raises this in the track "Heart Broken" on the musical commentary to Dr Horrible: http://drhorrible.com/commentary/heart-broken/

As a counter-example, I cite the recent Better Call Saul releases. That has entertaining commentaries by the actors and writers on every episode. I'm guessing that's a deliberate decision by the show's producers.


The simplest answer is that Studios apparently do not pay for it.

Guillermo del Toro references this here:

GTD on commentary tracks

and mentions that it is something he has to insist upon including.

Speculation: Director commentary was a bonus offered initially on DVD to showcase the technology and move sales (I used to sell consumer electronics during the time DVD was released, and the selling points vis-a-vis VHS highlighted this). But now that digital home media is ubiquitous (and fading) the money is found more in streaming than in ownership.

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