What is a “Steelbook” DVD or Blu-Ray Movie?

black panther collectible steelbook blu-rayHere’s one that came up for me this morning: I got a press release about the upcoming DVD release of the smash hit Black Panther. I’ll watch that again, I might well succumb and buy physical media. But this wasn’t just about the movie and its release on disk, it was about what the industry calls a “steel book”. As in Black Panther Collectible Steelbook edition. Which got me wondering… what the heck is a “steelbook”? And if I don’t know and I’m in the biz, I figure odds are good that you don’t know either, so let’s figure this one out.

And the answer turns out to be a bit mundane, actually: It’s a movie that’s released in a steel [well, probably not actual steel but aluminum] box. The logic is that the metal can be punched and formed to have a more 3-dimensional image which makes the art “pop” more from the box. The “book” part is that usually they have a little booklet included too. So with Black Panther, for example, the artwork is very cool and quite distinctive from the standard DVD release packaging (which you can see on the left side of this article, for example).

black panther blu-ray release packagingInside the Black Panther Collectible Steelbook release there’s also that mystery booklet, but I can’t dig up any information on what it’ll be about. My guess: Some really cool photos from the movie of Wakanda and possibly profiles of the lead characters. The Blu-Ray / DVD itself, however, will have some pretty nice extras that I assume will also be in the Steelbook edition. According to Marvel:

“The home video release will include  a commentary track from director Ryan Coogler, a roundtable discussion with the Black Panther creative team, deleted scenes and outtakes, and multiple “making of” featurettes. The release will also feature segments profiling the women of Wakanda, an explanation of how Black Panther connects to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, another on the history of Wakanda (with information about all the Wakandan tribes), the country’s cosmic origin and the technical applications of vibranium.”

What’s most interesting to me is that if I want to hold out for the 4K UltraHD release (and why wouldn’t I with a 4K setup?) I can’t get the Steelbook: it’s only available with the Blu-Ray release. Speaks volumes about where the market is nowadays. Nonetheless, now you know what a steelbook is and can decide for yourself which is going to work for your own copy of Black Panther, if you’re going ot pick up a copy!

Note: Black Panther Collectible Steelbook is only available through BestBuy.

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