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.
Walmart's 'G.I. Joe' preorder
Walmart’s program to offer in-store preorders of recent theatrical and television hits has expanded to the point where the placeholder cases for several different titles are taking up entire segments of a store’s home entertainment shelf.
Among the latest batch available for preorder is Paramount’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which just hit theaters a week earlier. No release date was listed on the display, but the preorder includes home delivery of both Retaliation and its predecessor, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, on either DVD ($19.96) or Blu-ray ($24.96) upon Retaliation’s eventual release date. The deal includes exclusive Vudu content for Reitaliation, plus instant streaming access to Rise of Cobra and Retaliation on Vudu two weeks before its street date.
Walmart is also taking preorders for the just concluded third season of Anchor Bay’s “The Walking Dead,” with the DVD ($34.96) and Blu-ray ($42.96) expected in August. The deal includes exclusive Vudu content and instant streaming access to season-three episodes, plus a CD soundtrack.
Also available for preorder is Anchor Bay’s Spartacus: War of the Damned, the concluding chapter of the Starz series, coming in September on DVD for $26.96 and Blu-ray for $32.96. The preorder includes instant Vudu access to the season, plus the first episode of “Da Vinci’s Demons” starting April 15.
Finally, Walmart offers a preorder of the True Blood: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray for $34.96, in advance of its May 21 street date. The Vudu tie-in includes the entire fourth season and the first episode of the fifth.
The latest batch of titles available exclusively at Walmart includes a couple of direct-to-video sequels and an international hit making its way stateside.
On the sequel front, the most notable is Return to Nim’s Island, the DVD ($12.96) and Blu-ray ($14.96) of which arrived on Walmart shelves March 19 from Arc Entertainment (it’s slated for wide release May 21). Starring Bindi Irwin (daughter of the late Steve Irwin, a.k.a. The Crocodile Hunter), Return is a follow-up to a 2008 theatrical film that starred Jodie Foster, but with a whole new cast. It aired on the Hallmark Channel March 15.
Another Walmart exclusive, which streeted March 26, is A Turtle’s Tale 2 ($12.96 DVD), from Gaiam Vivendi, a sequel to a 2010 Belgian film.
Walmart also has exclusive distribution of Sony Pictures’ Adventures in Zambezia ($12.96 DVD, $17.96 Blu-ray/DVD combo), a South African animated film featuring the voices of Leonard Nimoy and Jeff Goldblum, among others. It also streeted March 26.
Turning to promotions at other retailers, Target offered season two of Showtime's "The Borgias" with two episodes of season seven of "Dexter," while Best Buy touted $8 in movie cash for tickets to see Jurassic Park 3D with the purchase of any "Jurassic Park" Blu-ray.
Target's 'Les Misérables' Deluxe Edition
The same week Warner sends The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to shelves (March 19), Universal is bringing two of its better-known titles to disc on a Friday (March 22).
There’s the comedy This Is 40, but the one attracting the retail buzz is the movie adaptation of musical Les Misérables.
Target is pulling out the stops with its exclusive special edition of the Les Misérables Blu-ray combo pack, offering variable covers, a bonus disc with 40 minutes of additional extras, as well as collectible cards and a booklet, all for $24.99 — just $2 more than the standard Blu-ray combo.
Best Buy offers the Les Misérables Blu-ray combo pack in an exclusive steelbook case for $19.99.
That’s not the only steelbook offered by Best Buy for the week. The chain also has Sony Pictures’ Zero Dark Thirty as a Blu-ray combo with steelbook packaging and a Medal of Honor: Warfighter Zero Dark Thirty map pack for $22.99.
Turning back to The Hobbit, Best Buy offered exclusive Gollum box art on the Blu-ray combo pack, which included an exclusive 30-minute documentary, A Hobbit’s Tale Part 1: The Journey Begins.
Walmart offered The Hobbit Blu-ray in exclusive booklet packaging, while Target packed on an exclusive Bilbo Baggins Lego figurine.
With several good new releases March 12, such as DreamWorks’ Rise of the Guardians and Fox’s Life of Pi, most retailers chose to promote the titles without adding any store-specific goodies.
Among the few retailer exclusives offered for the week, Walmart had a bare-bones DVD edition of Rise of the Guardians with no extras for $14.96. The regular DVD comes with a commentary, some featurettes and wind-up hopping Easter Eggs.
Walmart also has a version of the Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away DVD from Paramount with special box art.
Best Buy offered $10 toward the Life of Pi e-book with the purchase of the 3D Blu-ray (priced at $27.99). Best Buy also affered $6 instant savings with the purchase of any two of new DIsney Blu-ray two-movie packs for Brother Bear, Mulan or The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Major retailers promoting preorders of upcoming hits alongside the new releases is becoming commonplace.
The latest blockbuster to receive the preorder blitz is Warner Home Video’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which arrives on DVD and Blu-ray Disc March 19.
Best Buy is offering the Blu-ray combo pack of the film with an exclusive documentary, A Hobbit’s Tale Part 1: The Journey Begins. For a $14.99 deposit, fans can reserve a copy of the Blu-ray and have instant access to the exclusive documentary via Best Buy’s CinemaNow streaming service.
Walmart’s preorder of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey includes a 3D lenticular card of Bilbo or Gandalf, the Blu-ray in Walmart-exclusive 64-page booklet packaging, and instant viewing of the film online via Vudu.
Walmart also has a preorder for the History Channel’s The Bible miniseries on DVD ($29.96) and Blu-ray ($34.96) April 2 from Fox. The title, which includes Vudu access on street date, is touted as a Walmart exclusive.
In addition, Walmart preorders for the Blu-ray combo pack of Universal’s Les Misérables (March 22) tout an exclusive bonus soundtrack CD.
Best Buy's 'Twilight Saga' collection
The fifth and final “Twilight” film is giving retailers plenty of reasons to help the franchise go out with a bang. As it is, the Saturday, March 2, release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 easily overshadows all the other new releases for the week.
At Best Buy, fans can get a copy of the Breaking Dawn — Part 2 Blu-ray with an exclusive collectible locket key chain for $22.99 (the Blu-ray without the locket was $19.99, while the DVD was $16.99; all versions include a digital copy and UltraViolet). Best Buy also offers a special Blu-ray collection of all five “Twilight” films with digital copy and exclusive packaging for $44.99.
Target offers a three-DVD special edition of Part 2 for $22.99, with the regular DVD at $16.99 and the Blu-ray at $22.99. Target’s edition includes more than 50 minutes of exclusive video content. Target is also re-promoting its Part 1 DVD gift set that includes a flower prop from the wedding scene.
Walmart offers both parts of “Breaking Dawn” together in one case on DVD ($22.96 online price) or Blu-ray ($24.96).
Among non-"Twilight" promotions, the title with the most attention was Unviersal's Barbie in The Pink Shoes, the latest in a series of direct-to-video animated adventures starring Barbie. Target offered a free doll with purchase of the movie or a $17.99 Barbie in The Pink Shoes doll.
Walmart offered the Barbie in The Pink Shoes DVD packed with a plush bunny. Walmart also had Warner's new Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon DVD with two hours of exclusive bonus footage.
In addition, Walmart offered a preorder of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, arriving on Blu-ray and DVD March 19 from Warner, for $29.96, which includes a 3D lenticular card of Bilbo or Gandalf, the Blu-ray in Walmart-exclusive 64-page booklet packaging, and instant viewing of the film online via Vudu.
Best Buy's 'Game of Thrones' season 2 packaging
HBO’s new boxed set of Game of Thrones: The Complete Second Season gave a few retailers a good excuse to make it the focus of their weekly promotions.
Best Buy offered the Blu-ray combo pack with two exclusive covers, one featuring a kraken for the House of Greyjoy, the other a lion to represent the Lannisters.
Target’s version of the Game of Thrones: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray includes an exclusive bonus disc with four featurettes and a 20-minute interview with author George R.R. Martin, who wrote the books from which the show is adapted.
In addition, Target offered an exclusive Blu-ray combo pack version of Argo with special box art and 30 minutes of additional content in the form of three “From the Argo Files” featurettes.
Walmart is taking preorders for the March 12 release of Fox’s Life of Pi Blu-ray for $24.96, offering instant access of the film on Vudu.
Best Buy offered a $10 gift card with purchase of two select Blu-rays.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s new Here Comes the Boom Blu-ray featured a novel promotion at Best Buy. Buyers of the comedy, which features a teacher going into mixed martial arts to fund his classes, was accompanied by a $10 credit toward a pay-per-view purchase with participating providers, through March 1. Best Buy’s listing of the title touted the UFC 157 event Feb. 23.
The only other promotion involving a Feb. 5 new release was Best Buy offering a $6 discount when Disney’s new Peter Pan Blu-ray was purchased with any Blu-ray from the Disney Fairies series (the direct-to-video movies starring Tinker Bell).
Walmart is taking preorders for Fox’s Skyfall ($18.96, due Feb. 12) and Lionsgate’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 ($19.96, due March 2). As an incentive for Skyfall, Walmart offers (through its Vudu digital service) early online viewing of the film and a digital copy of Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace. For Breaking Dawn, Vudu has instant access to the Edward and Jacob scenes, and a digital copy of Twilight.
Also at Walmart is a new type of discount bin that offers single DVDs of old cartoons, TV shows or movies on a cardboard backing with simple blister packaging for just 96 cents each.
Best Buy's 'The Dark Knight Returns' with Joker figure.
The multimedia appeal of superheroes makes it easy for retailers to build promotions out of whatever comic book-related DVDs and Blu-rays hit the market. The latest, Warner’s animated Batman: The Dark Knight Returns — Part 2, is no exception.
Best Buy offered copies of the Blu-ray combo pack with an exclusive figurine of the villainous Joker, modeled after his appearance in the film, which is based on Frank Miller’s legendary 1986 graphic novel.
Target offered the DVD and Blu-ray with the first issue of the graphic novel.
Also attracting attention was Sony Pictures’ Hotel Transylvania. Walmart offered a boxed set of the Blu-ray combo pack with a plush of Mavis in her bat form.
At Target, the Blu-ray combo pack of the animated monster movie came with exclusive box art, a bonus game and extra content.
Target also offered a five-episode sampler DVD of ABC’s “Nashville” with a featurette for $9.
Barnes and Noble had a buy-two-get-one-free sale on all DVDs, Blu-rays and CDs.
A light slate of new releases on Jan. 22 didn’t encourage much in the way of unique promotions from retailers.
Only Target tied a deal to the new titles, offering $5 off when End of Watch and Death Race 3, both from Universal Studios Home Entertainment, were purchased together.
Best Buy focused on clearing out inventory, and brought back its $5 Upgrade & Save promotion. That gives customers a $5 coupon good toward any Blu-ray movie $9.99 or more for each used DVD they turn in at customer service. There’s a limit of five coupons per trip. Details are at BestBuy.com/UpgradeandSave.
Against the backdrop of the $5 coupon, Best Buy touted several Blu-rays as low as $4.99 ($9.99 without the coupon), such as The Departed, The Blind Side, Pulp Fiction, The Hangover, The Town and Sherlock Holmes, among others.
Walmart is taking preorders for the second-season Blu-ray of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” for $34.96, which includes instant access to a digital copy with commentary for the first episode and a preview of exclusive Walmart bonus content.