A lot of this has to do with the way the retail sheets are printed. My local TommyK placed an order for 5 rental copies for REMEMBER THE TITANS and simply picked the first order #. They got 5 pan & scan copies and have had constant complaints about no widescreen from their educated customers. But they can't do a thing about it! When they get their order sheet, there is almost always no way to tell the difference between pan & scan and widescreen, so they are trying to order equal amounts of each from here on out.
But other local shops are TRYING to get pan & scam because of people complaining very loudly about how much they hate those black bars cutting off the picture. Employees I have talked to state even showing customers examples of widescreen vs. pan & scan (like Die Hard or Superman) does not work because the customers refuse to believe some snot nosed kids (and those kids say the widescreen supporters simply walk out and go elsewhere instead of complaining, which is a mistake, so now I complain every time I see a pan & scan copy of a film).
This situation will only get worse and we will get to a point where pan & scam will be the default in rental stores, leaving us the only option of buying DVDs. Now, I buy plenty of DVDs, but I do not want to be forced into a situation where the only way to see a film is by buying it, even if I have no idea if the film is worth a cent or not!
I do think that studios need to go back to the practice of releasing ONE version of the film, with BOTH widescreen and pan & scam. Yes, that means fewer extras, but people, we are cutting our own throats here with these dual releases. Joe-the-retard-six-pack is now getting into DVDs because of CROPPED releases and he is a lot louder and nastier than regular Joe Six-pack.