Nintendo openly stated it was a re-release. We knew ahead of time that the controllers were the only difference. The entire idea was celebrating the roots of the series...a 2.5D remake would have defeated that purpose. It's a collectors' item. Digital just lacks the appeal of an actual box, booklets, and CDs, which, obviously, come with production, distribution, and retailing costs instead of just advertising. I wouldn't be suprised if buying the four games seperately on the Virtual Console would actually be more profitable for Nintendo.
And, seriously? These complaints never made sense to me. Nintendo is re-relasing a game to celebrate their flagship franchise's aniversary, and people complain that it's a re-release (I guess they assumed Nintendo was lying?). Nintendo charges roughly half the cost of the average modern game (which, typically, will not be as good as an SNES classic), and people complain that it's a lazy cash-in and a rip-off (Because they demand that this be released on the Virtual Console for $8, because anything higher than that for a classic game is simply an insult, and digital distribution in its current form is exactly as good as a disc)