‘Potter’ Leads the Way With Retailer Exclusives8 Dec, 2009 By: John Latchem
Dec. 8 saw several major releases come to DVD and Blu-ray, with retailers offering exclusives with no less than four of them.
The most visible of the new titles was easily Warner’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth film in the franchise, and its release spearheaded a slew of new “Potter” merchandise.
Best Buy offered the Blu-ray of the new film in special Death Eater mask packaging at $33.99 (the regular Blu-ray is offered at $17.99). This follows the previous week’s Best Buy exclusive release of Terminator: Salvation in packaging resembling a Terminator endoskull, so these special mask packages are nothing new for Warner titles. It is worth noting, however, that last year’s big “mask” title, The Dark Knight, was a Target exclusive.
This year, Target offered special lenticular packaging with its version of the two-DVD special edition of Half-Blood Prince, at $26.99. Target also offered exclusive extended cuts of the first two “Potter” films on DVD at $15 each. These are basically slimmed down versions of the Ultimate Collector’s Edition sets, without the various collectibles in the widespread releases.
Target also offered earlier “Harry Potter” DVDs at $7.50 each.
Wal-Mart had DVDs packed with "The Marauder's Map" (from the "Noble Collection") for $24.96. Those looking for the Blu-ray of the movie could get it at some Wal-Marts for $15. As usual, different Wal-Marts tend to have different prices on the same title, and some offered the exclusive map while others didn't. A Wal-Mart in Long Beach, Calif., offered an extensive "Harry Potter" display that included not just DVDs, but books, T-shirts, toys and games.
Best Buy touted $20 savings off any Half-Blood Prince video game.
Sony Pictures’ Julie & Julia proved popular for exclusive treatment. Target offered a two-DVD deluxe edition with the 90-minute documentary “Julia Child’s Kitchen Wisdom,” at $22.99. Best Buy offered the DVD with the book upon which the movie is based. And Wal-Mart paired the DVD with a copy of another Meryl Streep starrer, Postcards From the Edge.
Barnes & Noble offered $6 off Julie & Julia with the purchase of the latest issue of Food & Wine Magazine. Since the magazine carries a cover price of about $4.50, the discount is pretty much a wash, especially since BN’s in-store price for the DVD is $26.09, which equals the list price minus a 10% new-release discount (Of course, BN members can get an extra 10% off, but it hardly seems worth it).
For Universal’s gangster flick Public Enemies, Target offered exclusive production notes with the two-DVD and Blu-ray versions. Best Buy did them one better, offering exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and background of John Dillinger, also with the Blu-ray and two-DVD sets. Best Buy had other Universal gangster films, such as Scarface, Casino and American Gangster, for $6.99 each.
Finally, Disney’s Lost: The Complete Fifth Season at Best Buy came in exclusive packaging with a Dharma luggage tag and a bonus disc containing additional scenes and content, including “Lost on Location: This Place Is Death” — an inside look at a landmark episode and the return of the smoke monster.
On the non-exclusive front, hardcore “Lost” fans can pick up a special Dharma Initiative Orientation Kit version of the fifth season, containing an orientation film on VHS, brochures of the Dharma camp, patches and a music CD. The set was going for $75 and more at the few retailers that actually stocked it, so online is probably the best bet for those fans who really want it. The set comes with four Dharma uniform logo patches, but a lucky few boxes contain a special fifth patch.
Best Buy also offered an array of Disney Blu-ray titles, such as Pinocchio, A Bug’s Life, Cars, Wall-E, Monsters, Inc. and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies in exclusive steelbook packaging at $29.99 each.