If you check the official Web site of The Danny Elfman & Tim Burton 25th Anniversary Music Box, you'll notice that less than 100 copies of these $500-plus, mammoth box sets remain. That's not bad at all, for a box set of that price.
So why, then, can you order the set on Amazon and Best Buy?
Perhaps we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves here. When the box set was announced back in September, the big unanswered question (as always) was whether the limited, numbered run was the only production run that would occur. Box set producer Richard Kraft, in an October interview with Film Score Monthly, seemed to indicate that the limited run was the extent of the project. This only served to bruise fans' egos that much more; Kraft had appealed to FSM regarding the assembly of the track lists for the 16 discs that made up the set, making a strictly limited, ultra-expensive finished product less than ideal.
But then the box started appearing on other retailers, meaning that there might be hope for getting the set for cheaper. The problem, of course, is that nothing regarding these links have been confirmed. (Warner's responses have been vague or nonexistent; one poster on a film music message board got an e-mail from WB costumer service stating that the retail version would lack the certificate of authenticity that the direct-order version has, making one wonder if a piece of paper is really worth $70 extra.)
But then, things got weirder: one wholesaler of film music who has its own link to the box, Peter Kelly of The Movie Music Store, sent an e-mail to his customers, reading in part:
As a matter of utmost care and concern for my customers, I am advising you to place an order for the set directly with the Warner Bros. website for the set as soon as possible.
In my years of doing business with major distributors, private labels and limited editions, I will predict that Warner Bros. will pull out of wholesaling this product as a result of the unit selling so well directly on their website. This would mean all retail orders through my company and other wholesalers (Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, etc) would be cancelled.
I am attempting to light a fire under my distribution reps to confirm my wholesale orders to cover your orders, however, I have not yet received a confirmation.
In light of all this, I don't want you to miss out, and I don't want to be the reason you miss out.
Please keep your order open with me and if I am able to get this product at wholesale, I will confirm it as soon as possible so you can decide whether or not you want to keep your MovieMusic order open or your WB order open... at least you will have secured one copy.
Please let me know if you have any concerns. I hope you recognize my wish to do what's best for you, my customers.
Kelly, whose reputation for good customer service is well-known throughout the film score collector community, would not have sent an e-mail if he didn't suspect something. So what's Warner's next move? This box has gotten a multitude of mainstream press attention, and if Amazon and Best Buy customers have only a pool of under 100 copies to receive from, some if not all of them will have a reason to be angry.
While this story develops, we ask you, the reader, several questions. Have you purchased one of the Burton/Elfman boxes? Does Warner Bros. stand to provide greater transparency? And what do matters like this say for limited box sets in the future? Sound off below.