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.
Best Buy's 'Justice League: War' with figurine
Animated superhero movies are the perfect fodder for retail exclusives, so it’s not surprising that Warner’s Justice League: War would attract major promotional attention from the three big chains.
Best Buy offered an exclusive edition of the Blu-ray combo pack with a limited-edition Superman figurine, priced at $1 more than the regular edition. Target offered Justice League: War in steelbook packaging, while Walmart had early availability of a two-DVD limited edition version that won’t be widely available until March 18.
Walmart also offered a DVD version of Fox’s Free Birds with no extras for $14.96. This is especially interesting considering the only extra listed on the regular $19.96 DVD is a music video.
In addition, Walmart had exclusive availability of a family film called My Dog the Champion from Anchor Bay.
Lionsgate’s Escape Plan was offered at Target on DVD for just $10, part of a sale featuring many recent DVDs at the same price, including Captain Phillips, Fast & Furious 6 and Man of Steel.
Walmart's 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2' lunchbox packaging
New releases are starting to rain down like meatballs, and with them a plethora of retail exclusives from which to choose.
Those shopping for Sony Pictures’ Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 had plenty of choices from the major retailers. Best Buy offered the Blu-ray of the film with a Barry Strawberry plush toy. Walmart gave away a Cloudy 2 lunch box. And Target packed the Blu-ray with a bonus disc containing an “All Access at Cloudy Labs” behind-the-scenes featurette.
Target also offered a coupon for a free popcorn and soda at the Target Café with a Cloudy 2 purchase.
The other big title in terms of goodies was Paramount’s Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa. Best Buy included a bonus disc containing an “Origin of Bad Grandpa” featurette with a new Johnny Knoxville interview, and offered DVDs of the first two “Jackass” films for $2.99 each with purchase of the new film. Target packed the Blu-ray with a bottle opener. And Walmart offered a DVD two-pack of the new film with Jackass 3, as well as an exclusive version of the standalone DVD with a digital copy.
Target is also taking preorders for the Blu-ray combo pack of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (due March 7), offering a bonus disc with 45 minutes of exclusive content and a free fabric poster valued at $9.99.
Disney's 'Cloud 9' DVD is available exclusively at Walmart
Walmart Jan. 21 had exclusive availability of the Disney Channel original snowboarding movie Cloud 9 just a few days after its Jan. 17 premiere. The Disney DVD was priced at $14.96.
Best Buy offered Sony Pictures’ Captain Phillips Blu-ray combo pack with exclusive steelbook packaging at the same price as the regular Blu-ray combo pack ($24.99).
In addition, some Best Buy stores offered a “Reward Yourself” deep-discount display touting DVDs for as low as $2.99 and Blu-rays for $4.99.
Target had exclusive availability of JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time, a new animated movie from Warner Home Video featuring Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the other members of the Justice League fighting an evil scheme by the Legion of Doom. Target listed the title at $12.99.
Curiously, while Target listed Sony Pictures’ Blue Jasmine Blu-ray in its weekly ad circular, a couple of stores in the Southern California area only put the DVD version on shelves.
Target's 'Butler' Bundle
A flood of new releases arrived on shelves Jan. 14, with the biggest probably being Lee Daniels’ The Butler, the civil rights drama distributed by Anchor Bay. It’s certainly one of the only new titles with any exclusive promotions at retail.
Target offered The Butler with an exclusive bonus disc containing a television special featuring the cast from Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network.
Walmart’s copies of The Butler on both DVD and Blu-ray came with a bonus disc containing a look at the making of the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
Best Buy offered a $5 discount when The Butler Blu-ray was purchased at the same time as another Anchor Bay drama, Fruitvale Station.
Best Buy also touted catalog action-movie Blu-rays containing $7.50 movie coupons for the theatrical release of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
Walmart had exclusive availability of Phase 4’s Western Ambush at Dark Canyon, with the DVD packed with a CD soundtrack of songs from star Kix Brooks.
Barnes & Noble stores offered a buy-two-get-one-free deal on Blu-rays, DVDs and music, including boxed sets.
Some of the first exclusives of the new year involve the new DVD releases for “Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures” from Phase 4. While two volumes of the cartoon were released to general retail (The Adventure Begins and All You Can Eat), Target and Walmart each had its own exclusive volume to sell. Walmart sold Pac Is Back for $9.96, while Target had Let the Games Begin for $12.99.
Target also offered as an exclusive a special boxed set of all four seasons of “Duck Dynasty,” $34.99 for the DVD and $37.99 for the Blu-ray. Interestingly, the standalone fourth season was available only on DVD in stores and only on Blu-ray online.
As for exclusive add-ons, Target’s copies of the first season of “The Following” on DVD and Blu-ray included a bonus disc of “The Twisted Journal of the Followers.”
Walmart had exclusive availability of Anchor Bay’s military documentary Murph: The Protector, at $9.96 on DVD and $14.96 on Blu-ray.
Best Buy offered a $5 savings when the Blu-ray of Runner Runner was purchased with another recent Fox title, Don Jon.
Target's 'Elysium' Steelbook
Dec. 17 turned out to be one of the biggest weeks of the year in terms of new releases, which isn’t much of a surprise given it’s just a week before Christmas.
Among the slew of new titles, the ones getting the most attention in terms of retail exclusives were the two big ones from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment: Elysium and One Direction: This Is Us.
At Best Buy, the Elysium Blu-ray came with an exclusive bonus disc containing additional behind-the-scenes footage. Target offered Elysium in exclusive Blu-ray steelbook packaging. And Walmart had the sci-fi title paired with the Blu-ray of director Neill Blomkamp’s previous film, District 9.
For This Is Us, Target offered the Blu-ray combo pack of the film with collector’s cards.
Another title garnering significant attention was Fox’s Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Best Buy offered a $7 discount toward a Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters e-book with the purchase of specially marked 3D or Blu-ray copies of the film. Walmart had two-packs of the film’s DVD with the first film in the franchise, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.
For Disney’s The Lone Ranger, Best Buy offered exclusive Blu-ray packaging and a soundtrack download with a bonus track.
Target's 'Despicable Me 2' Digibook
The biggest title released Dec. 10, Universal’s Despicable Me 2, dominated retail attention almost to the exclusion of all the other new releases. Universal’s Fast & Furious 6 did get a fair share of promotional focus, but it was minor compared to the animated hit.
Best Buy offered a free Minion lunchbox with the purchase of any version of DM2, while offering FF6 with an exclusive steelbook cover (an alternative to the widely available steelbook Blu-ray). Best Buy’s edition came with $5 CinemaNow credit toward any other “Fast & Furious” film. Shoppers could get all six films with steelbook covers for $69.99.
Target offered DM2 with two exclusive Blu-ray editions. One came with a bonus disc and digibook packaging with an Anti-Villain League book, while the other just had the bonus disc, which includes 40 minutes of fun, including featurettes and cast interviews. Target’s FF6 steelbook came with the film’s soundtrack.
Walmart offered a DM2 gift set with minion toys, and a FF6 steelbook with extras that could be watched via its Vudu streaming service.
After spending a day viewing the “Doctor Who” 50th anniversary special and the Mary Poppins 50th anniversary Blu-ray, I have come to the inescapable conclusion that Mary Poppins is a Time Lord.
A simple Google search shows that I am not alone in this assessment. The evidence is rather overwhelming, considering all the traits she seems to have in common with our good pal The Doctor.
She seems to live forever.
Her carpet bag is bigger on the inside, a trademark of Time Lord science and their dimensional-warping capabilities.
Her umbrella is imbued with astonishing abilities, like a sonic screwdriver.
She loves taking her companions on wild adventures.
The “Doctor Who” special added another wrinkle to the argument, reminding us that Time Lord art is bigger on the inside, allowing people to actually jump inside it and move around. You know, a lot like those sidewalk drawings Mary jumped into with Bert and the children.
Speaking of Bert, he has all the hallmarks of a Time Lord companion, and it’s clear he and Mary must have shared some adventures before. It’s probably where he learned the techniques of Time Lord art to create those trans-dimensional sidewalk drawings of his (or, perhaps he’s using special Time Lord drawing sticks, which the rest of use perceive is simple chalk).
Not being a Time Lord, of course, Bert lacked the means to actually enter the artwork. But Mary was able to complete the transference, probably because her umbrella is equipped with the necessary spatial technology needed to embed people in the art.
Where’s Mary’s TARDIS, you ask? Well, maybe she keeps it hidden in the clouds, much like The Doctor did in “The Snowmen” Christmas special.
And since Time Lords are expert time travelers, Mary may be responsible for transporting the penguin waiters back to Los Angeles in 1947, where they show up in Who Framed Roger Rabbit 17 years before Walt Disney would have created them.
See. Really it makes perfect sense if you think about it.
Comedy Central’s “South Park” Dec. 4 completed a trilogy of episodes satirizing the Black Friday shopping frenzy.
The plot centered on the town’s children dividing into separate camps devoted to Sony’s PlayStation 4 or Microsoft’s Xbox One video game consoles. Under the assumption that only one faction could emerge victorious, and set up that console as the dominate video game system for a generation, the two sides prepared for war in an elaborate “Game of Thrones” parody.
Meanwhile, the local mall security guards prepared for the onslaught of shoppers by unveiling a memorial wall to all the guards killed during previous Black Fridays. At one point, a character laments seeing a character getting killed off after knowing and liking them, a jab at shows such as “Thrones” and “The Walking Dead,” where killing main characters at unexpected times has become routine.
The local news covered the hordes of people gathering at the mall, and interviewed a man who declared he ate his 5-year-old son because he was too hungry while waiting in line for his chance to buy a Blu-ray player for 96% off, or “about $20.” He then sang a little song to commemorate his actions.
When the moment arrived for the shoppers to storm the mall, the scene transformed into a literal bloodbath, with footage from actual Black Friday riots spliced into the montage for good measure.
As for the console wars? After gathering at the mall’s Red Robin for a fake wedding and a round of betrayal (a spoof of the infamous Red Wedding of “Thrones”), the children eventually decided it was all marketing hype to encourage them to buy video games. Their refusal to participate in the Black Friday rush forced Bill Gates and a Japanese Sony CEO to have a bare-knuckle brawl to decide the future of the video game industry.
Of course, it wouldn’t be “South Park” if creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone didn’t turn the joke back on themselves, plugging their oft-delayed video game South Park: The Stick of Truth, recently rescheduled for March 2014.
The entire trilogy of episodes can be watched at SouthParkStudios.com.
Best Buy's 'Wolverine' Gift Set
The big title the first week in December was Fox’s The Wolverine, a typical big-name title for retailers to attach exclusives to attract customers in the wake of Black Friday sales.
Best Buy offered the 3D combo pack of The Wolverine with exclusive packaging and a collectible card set. The special gift set was offered at $1 less than the regular 3D combo pack.
Walmart offered the Wolverine 3D combo pack with a Vudu download of a previous "X-Men" movie. The chain also offered bare-bones DVD and Blu-ray editions of the film.
Target offered the Wolverine 3D and Blu-ray combo packs with an exclusive 24-minute downloadable featurette, "The Legendary Wolverine."
Other exclusives at Target included two titles from Sony Pictures: an exclusive bonus disc with a 30-minute "Inside the Magic" featurette with the BD combo pack of The Smurfs 2, and 45 minutes of bonus interviews with the Blu-ray of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.
Walmart offered Smurfs 2 Blu-ray gift sets with either a Papa Smurf or Smurfette plush.
Best Buy offered BBC’s Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor 50th anniversary special a week early on DVD ($17.99) and Blu-ray ($21.99). It goes wide Dec. 10.