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Geared towards comic book and genre fans, Agent DVD Insider scoops DVD and Blu-Ray release announcements and news, along with commentary from industry experts and fellow comic fans.

Agent DVD Insider
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29 Jun, 2010

‘Inception’ of ‘Twilight’ Fever


Though new June 29 releases Hot Tub Time Machine and Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief garnered a fair amount of retail promotions, a lot of stores were turning their attention toward some of the big titles hitting theaters this summer.

Timed for the July 16 release of Inception, Best Buy offered a display filled with Blu-ray Discs of previous movies directed by Christopher Nolan and earlier movies starring Leonardo DiCaprio at $16.99 each. These titles came with a coupon for $5 off a concession purchase at the theater.

Target went into “Twilight” mode for the theatrical release of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, offering DVDs and Blu-ray Discs of the first two movies at a discount, as well as tying in promotion for Remember Me, a recent movie starring “Twilight” star Robert Pattinson.

Best Buy also ran an interesting promotion called “Flashback to the ’80s,” offering such favorites as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Top Gun, The Goonies and E.T. on DVD for as low as $4.99 apiece.

15 Jun, 2010

Some ‘Family Guy’ Deals

With some big theatricals hitting shelves June 15, retailers nonetheless turned their attention to a couple of television stalwarts: “Family Guy” and “American Dad.”

At Target, fans of the Seth MacFarlane animated comedies could get a $10 gift card with purchase of both Family Guy Vol. 8 (at $32.99) and American Dad Vol. 5 (at $29.99).

Target also had an exclusive 50-minute Q&A with MacFarlane included with the “Family Guy” DVD.

Best Buy gave an instant $10 discount with purchase of both titles (offered individually at the same price as Target), with digital copies of four episodes included in each set.

Best Buy is now touting its CinemaNow download service in its weekly ad circular. The Book of Eli, When in Rome and Youth in Revolt all were marked with the option to download to own for $15.95 each.

Walmart began gearing up for the theatrical release of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse by moving DVDs of the first two movies back to the new-release section and offering them at $17 apiece. The deluxe edition of New Moon was offered at $24.96.

8 Jun, 2010

Bringing on the Deals

Best Buy's 3D Bundle
Best Buy's 3D Bundle

In a week with only a few new releases and no major exclusives tied to them, retailers offered a slew of deals on catalog product and hardware to attract customers.

Best Buy used a page in its weekly circular to tout a 3D home theater system at $2,919.94 for a 46-inch TV or $3,549.94 for a 55-inch TV package. The bundle includes a Samsung 3DTV and 3D-capable Blu-ray player, an HDMI cable, four pairs of 3D glasses, a copy of the Monsters vs. Aliens 3D Blu-ray and set-up by the Geek Squad.

Best Buy shoppers also can get $50 worth of free Blu-ray movies with purchase of a $399.99 Panasonic 5.1-channel BD home theater system, or $30 worth of movies with a $179.99 Panasonic BD player.

A Walmart in Long Beach, Calif., recently upgraded its electronics department to a more upscale footprint, though it is still working out the kinks of getting product onto shelves on time. The store still has plenty of Avatar displays and now offers a Father’s Day display of DVDs at $9 and under. The store also has a selection of Fox titles at $15 and under that contain $7.50 movie cash toward theatrical releases The A-Team, Knight and Day or Predators.

1 Jun, 2010

A Wolfman Wonderland

Best Buy's <i>Alice</i> and <i>Wolfman</i> exclusive sets
Best Buy's <i>Alice</i> and <i>Wolfman</i> exclusive sets

Sometimes studios seem to antagonize fans of a particular movie just to appease certain retailers. Case in point: the remake of The Wolfman, which contains a trove of extras on the Blu-ray but only a few deleted scenes on DVD.

At first glance this strategy seems geared toward pointing fans to buying the Blu-ray. But it also lets the studio throw some of that Blu-ray content toward a DVD exclusive. In this case Best Buy has a special two-DVD set of The Wolfman with the extra behind-the-scenes footage.

Walmart also has a Wolfman special edition, but the value-add is just 10 MP3 downloads — not exactly germane to the subject matter.

The biggest title released on disc June 1, though, was Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Target offered a $5 gift card with purchase of an Alice disc and an Alice video game or CD. Again, Best Buy had the more elaborate exclusive: a combo pack with exclusive packaging and character cards.

Best Buy also held special midnight madness sales for Alice, giving away free posters and $5 off the exclusive combo-pack edition.

27 May, 2010

'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' Season 2 on Disc Oct. 26

It looks like “Star Wars” just won't go away. Even 33 years after the debut of George Lucas' blockbuster space epic, the franchise continues to grow. The Empire Strikes Back recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, “Star Wars” merchandise is still a top seller, and Cartoon Network's CG-animated “Clone Wars” series continues to perform well in the ratings.

Warner Home Video will release the second season of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” Oct. 26 (order date Sept. 14) as a four-disc set on DVD ($44.98) and Blu-ray Disc ($59.99). The discs will include all 22 episodes from the recently concluded season, plus audio commentaries, behind-the-scenes featurettes and a 64-page production journal. Exclusive to the Blu-ray edition will be “The Jedi Temple Archives,” an extensive database of special effects footage, concept art, 3D renderings and more.

The show takes place in the time frame between Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, with the action-packed second season dubbed “Rise of the Bounty Hunters.” One of the highlights was the return of Boba Fett, the badass bounty hunter from the original trilogy, who is still learning the ropes here, as he is still a child seeking revenge for his father's death in Episode II. Longtime franchise fans should appreciate many of the subtle nods to the expanded universe established in novels and comic books.

25 May, 2010

A Retail ‘Blood’-Letting

The release of HBO Home Entertainment’s True Blood: The Complete Second Season received most of the attention at retail May 25, even over a couple of theatricals debuting on disc.

Best Buy essentially offered its own “True Blood” store, with discounts off the first season on disc, as well as other merchandise, such as souvenir T-shirts and bottles of a Tru-Blood branded soda.

Target offered a $5 gift card to customers who bought season two on DVD or Blu-ray with any book by Charlaine Harris, author of the novels upon which the TV show is based. Target also had exclusive bonus content: a 45-minute cast Q&A, available with either the DVD or Blu-ray. Target also had the DVD of the first season at $39.99.

Also available at Target was an exclusive Blu-ray/DVD combo pack of Dear John.

Walmart offered copies of the Dear John DVD packed with DVD copies of Sleepless in Seattle for $19.96 a set.

Best Buy also is taking preorders for season six of “Lost,” on DVD and Blu-ray Aug. 24.

18 May, 2010

More Titles Await Online

May 18 represented a decent week for new releases, with several mid-range but high-profile titles heading to stores. Not every title will be available on shelves, however, with some retailers saving space by shifting smaller titles to their websites.

Wal-Mart is most notorious for this practice, routinely offering many Blu-ray titles and pricier boxed sets online.

May 18 saw the release of the Oscar-nominated but low-earning The Messenger, the Woody Harrelson film about soldiers who inform family members of their loved ones’ deaths. Among major retail chains, only Best Buy offered the Blu-ray combo pack in stores, at $22.99 ($17.99 for the plain DVD). Wal-Mart offered the DVD at $15, with the Blu-ray online only at $19.96.

Target offered no copies of The Messenger in stores, shifting it online with the DVD at $19.49 and the Blu-ray at $22.39.

Target was more interested in pushing re-releases of “Sex and the City” season sets at $13.99 each, touting that they contain a $7.50 movie coupon for Sex and the City 2, in theaters May 27.

13 May, 2010

‘Avatar’ a Wasted Opportunity?

Wow. James Cameron’s surprising box office bonanza Avatar has sold 20 million discs, 6.2 million of those being the Blu-ray version to set a record for the format.

Let me put it another way. Avatar has sold 20 million DVDs, with 6.2 million consumers wisely choosing to spend a couple extra bucks to get the set that includes an extra disc with a Blu-ray copy.

See the difference?

The huge sales (three straight weeks at No. 1 and unlikely to change for a fourth) indicate such strong demand that I think had the only version available been the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack it still would have sold exceptionally well. Plus, it would have forced consumers to confront their lack of knowledge of Blu-ray Disc.

OK, maybe that’s utopian thinking on my part, since in my experience most consumers seem rather rube-ish about technical issues. Just look at some of the negative PR Disney took by putting a Snow White Blu-ray in a DVD-style case last year.

BUT, you don’t let 13 million people off the hook by letting them buy the lower-quality DVD version of a movie that really needs to be seen in HD. (I am not going to get into the bigger flaw with the Avatar release strategy, namely a complete lack of a bonus disc or any extras in the initial release).

The marketing strategy for Blu-ray has been to push it as a premium product, with a combo pack offering a bonus disc of the DVD. I say reverse that logic, and get those stuck in standard-def to think of combo packs as DVDs that also contain a Blu-ray Disc (Fox and MGM have started to do this with some of their catalog titles). I think if more studios adopted a strategy of only releasing combo packs for new movies, the late-adopters to Blu-ray would still get their DVD, plus start building a pile of Blu-ray Discs that may just spark their curiosity about the format enough to finally splurge on the $120 for a decent but low-end BD player.

The faster consumers get on board with Blu-ray, the better things will be for packaged media in the long run.

11 May, 2010

‘Toy Story’ Still Going Strong

While most retailers gave a fair amount of shelf space to the modestly performing theatrical films hitting DVD and Blu-ray Disc May 11, a lot of the attention was diverted to old favorites, especially Disney’s “Toy Story” movies.

Wal-Mart continues to stock 2008’s Iron Man in its new-release shelf, while also giving considerable space to Avatar and DVD-only re-releases of the “Toy Story” movies.

It’s worth noting that the “Toy Story” movies have been released on DVD numerous times before, and on Blu-ray just a few months ago. The May 11 DVDs basically are the special editions from a few years ago with a new preview for Toy Story 3.

Target’s weekly ad circular gave the “Toy Story” DVDs such prominent placement that one would think they were brand new to disc. Best Buy’s ad circular also touted Avatar and Toy Story, pointing customers to a Toy Story 3 theatrical coupon in the Blu-ray versions of the first two films, plus a $15 savings with the purchase of both.

Best Buy also offered a $5 gift card with the purchase of both Legion and Daybreakers.

The most notable exclusive was Wal-Mart’s two-pack of Legion and Gabriel, a 2007 film starring Andy Whitfield of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand.”



4 May, 2010

‘Iron Man’ Back in Retail Spotlight

The May 7 theatrical debut of Iron Man 2 means retailers are keen on offering “Iron Man” product this week. Not only did two new volumes of “Iron Man” cartoons hit DVD May 4, but some retailers put the 2-year-old DVD of the first movie back in the new-release section.

Wal-Mart offered the 2008 film on DVD for $13, while Best Buy offered it at $12.99 for DVD and $19.99 for Blu-ray.

Best Buy also had the recent Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel DVD discounted 50%, to $9.99.

As Mothers Day looms on May 9, the big retailer with the most noticeable themed display was Best Buy, which offered a selection of mom-friendly hits for $4.99 or $9.99 each.

Target tagged a selection of DVDs for moms at $4.99 each and offered Blu-ray Discs at $12.99 apiece.

Wal-Mart had the exclusive distribution for Fox’s Flicka 2, offered at $13 on DVD and $15 as a two-pack with the first movie.

Best Buy exclusively offered the Blu-ray Disc version of WWE’s Wrestlemania XXVI.