Harry Potter in Warner Bros Vault

Mimicking the home video embargo strategy utilized for years by Disney whereby popular films are pulled from the market and placed in the Disney Vault, Reuters is reporting that Warner Bros. has announced it will remove all its Harry Potter DVDs and Blu-ray discs from retail shelves on December 29th of this year.

Though the move will undoubtedly increase demand for WB's most popular franchise by leveraging the laws of supply and demand, the surprise here is that the studio is willing to forego a massive short-term money-grab for what could be a much more lucrative long-term profit by creating a shortage. The idea being that the more scarce a title is, the bigger demand will be once that "vault" is opened back up.

Of special note here is the fact that the last film in the franchise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 will be taken off the market only 48 days after it hits store shelves on November 11. Yes, it's a brilliant move, and even though most fans will see through the thinly veiled attempts at creating an artificial demand, our guess is they'll still show up in droves to snatch up as many copies as they can get their hands on. Warner should make a fortune off the move.

An interesting by-product of the plan could come about from the fact that digital copies of all titles will still be available for purchase and rental via video-on-demand sparking a huge uptick in digital downloads. The reuters article also speculates that Warner has been keeping a keen eye on the box office receipts generated by the recent 3D release of The Lion King which roared back into theaters some 17 years after its original release to pull in an additional $75 million. Could Warner have up its sleeve a 3D conversion of its Harry Potter catalog and a similar theatrical run some time later down the line?