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 'Hateful Eight' steelbook
Sandwiched between the disc debuts of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, March 29 proved to be a rather slow week for new home video releases. Still Anchor Bay's The Hateful Eight was available with a couple of exclusive retail editions.
The latest Quentin Tarantino film was available at Best Buy in an exclusive steelbook edition.
Target offered the Western with collectible lenticular packaging and an exclusive behind-the-scenes featurette.
Speaking of "Star Wars," Target is particularly ready for the April 5 DVD and Blu-ray arrival of The Force Awakens. Many Target stores have "Star Wars" merchandise displays set up next to the new-release section, as well as other decorations around the store, such as life-size Stormtrooper decals greeting guests at the front doors.
Target's 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay 2' exclusive
It comes as no surprise that the three major retail chains each had their own exclusive edition of Lionsgate's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2.
Target offered a three-disc version of the Blu-ray with fold-out packaging and an exclusive bonus disc containing 45 minutes of extra content.
Best Buy offered the Blu-ray combo pack with a steelbook case.
Walmart offered two-packs on DVD and Blu-ray containing both Mockingjay films. These were bare-bones discs containing minimal extras.
For Paramount's Daddy's Home, Walmart offered the Blu-ray with a pack-on 16-inch inflatable basketball.
Walmart also offered Universal's Monster High: Great Scarrier Reef as a DVD two-pack with Monster High: Best of the Ghouls Collection Vol. 1.
On the preorder front, Warner has yet to release Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in theaters, but stores already have in-store packages to preorder the film on Digital HD. The promotion includes three character trading cards and an $8 coupon to see the film in theaters. Best Buy offered the preorder for $22.50 and Walmart had it for $24.96. Best Buy also touted other DC Comics-based movies and TV shows with the $8 coupon.
Best Buy exclusive 'Game of Thrones: Season 5' covers
Three different retailers released HBO's Game of Thrones: The Complete Fifth Season with extra content on an exclusive bonus disc.
Target included a 28-minute featurette about the "Massacre at Hardhome" episode with Blu-rays of the show.
Walmart's Blu-ray had a 30-minute look at the visual effects of the season.
Both Blu-ray and DVD copies at Barnes & Noble included the 26-minute "The Final Step" look at post-production.
Best Buy offered exclusive box art variants, letting fans choosing from the sigils for the Targaryen, Martell and Bolton families, with the latter being an online exclusive.
Fox's The Peanuts Movie was the big new title on March 8, drawing the lion's share of shelf space and promotional interest.
The most notable retail exclusive came at Target, which offered an 25-minute bonus DVD with the featurettes ""The Voices of The Peanuts Movie," "The Art of Dreaming Big" and more. Peanuts Movie discs at Target also included a coupon for a free popcorn and soda at the Taret Café, though it should be noted that many Target stores, at least those in Southern California, have temporarily closed their in-store eateries for renovations.
Also of note about The Peanuts Movie is that it is the first title to receive a date-and-date UHD BD release, after the format officially launched a week ago. Best Buy was the only chain to carry the UHD version in stores, and notably stocked such copies in the new-release section next to the other formats of the title, and not with the other UHD BDs in the 4K section.
Fox also released a gift set of the regular Blu-ray combo pack with a plush Snoopy, priced at Target and Best Buy at the same price as the non-gift set Blu-ray combo pack.
As part of the Peanuts Movie promotional effort, Fox launched a "Snoopytizer" section at the Peanutizeme.com site, which lets fans create customized Peanuts characters based on themselves. The Snoopytizer lets fans create a customized Snoopy, even making the famed canine resemble their own dogs.
Among other titles, Walmart had a special DVD double feature containing Paramount's musical Grease Live paired with the original theatrical Grease.
Best Buy's Ultra HD Blu-ray display
The official debut of Ultra HD Blu-ray didn't get much fanfare at retail, with Best Buy the only big chain really promoting the new 4K format.
Some Best Buy stores have been selling the Fox UHD BDs for a few weeks, and a store in Costa Mesa, Calif., did set up a dedicated section for the titles, which expanded on March 1 to include Warner, Sony Pictures and Lionsgate titles, all for $29.99 each. Clerks on the floor, however, weren't very helpful in guiding customers toward it. One clerk, while standing less than 10 feet from the rack containing the titles, said the store hadn't set up a display, and suggested checking the UHD display in the TV department. A clerk there wasn't aware of a display either, suggesting a few titles were distributed with the new releases (they weren't), though one of the customers there was able to say where the actual display was, nestled next to the 3D Blu-ray section in a middle aisle.
In terms of retail exclusives for the weeks' new titles, Warner's Creed came with a steelbook Blu-ray at Target, while Walmart once again offered its bizarre extras-free DVD option without bothering to stock the regular edition, even though their vanilla version is the same price with different box art. Given how few extras were actually on the disc to begin with, it's a wonder why Walmart thinks such a thing is still a worthwhile exclusive, or why the studio bothers giving it to them.
Walmart also offered a two-pack of Sony Pictures' The Night Before DVD with a double feature DVD containing The Interview and This Is the End.
Another Walmart exclusive involved a special edition of Cinedigm's God's Not Dead, containing an exclusive preview of the sequel accessible through the Vudu.com streaming service. The DVD cost $12.96.
Target offered a couple of exclusive deals with some new kidvid titles. Those who purchased Universal's Barbie: Spy Squad DVD ($9.99) or Blu-ray ($14.99), or a $17.99 doll based on the movie, could get a free Spy Squad Pet toy valued at $3.99. And, Target gave a $5 gift card with the purchase of Nickelodeon's Paw Patrol: Brave Heroes, Big Rescues DVD ($7.99) with a $9.99 Air Rescue pup toy.
Disney's The Good Dinosaur didn't arrive at retail with the same level of excitement as previous Pixar movies, but that didn't stop some retailers from hooking it up with some exclusive content.
Target offered the Blu-ray versions of the film with an exclusive featurette and a deleted scene accessible via the Disney Movies Anywhere website.
Best Buy offered a special lenticular cover for the Blu-ray (non-3D) combo pack.
Target devoted most of its home entertainment space in its weekly ad circular to plugging preorders. Target is offering a $5 gift card with preorders of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and a $10 gift card with preorders of HBO's Game of Thrones: Season 5, at Target.com/preorder.
In another interesting move, Target used the upcoming debut of Netflix's "Fuller House" to plug the DVD of the first season of "Full House" for $9.99.
The new home video releases for Feb. 16 were dominated by a slate of docudramas and a couple of high-profile HBO comedy series, once again ceding a majority of the new-release section shelf space to Fox's Spectre. New titles include Universal's Steve Jobs, about the Apple Computer co-founder, and Trumbo, about the blackblisted Hollywood writer, and Warner's Black Mass, about mobster Whitey Bulger, and The 33, about the Chilean mining disaster.
Interestingly, Best Buy, Target and Walmart all relegated Universal's Trumbo Blu-ray to an online-only title, stocking only the DVD version on shelves.
And a Walmart in Tustin, Calif., didn't even carry the new HBO releases in stores: Girls: The Complete Fourth Season and Togetherness: The Complete First Season.
For the most part, stores touted sales of catalog titles. Best Buy offered DVDs for $3.99 each and Blu-rays for $6.99 each, with many Fox titles including coupons for discounts off movie tickets to the new hit film Deadpool. Best Buy also had TV seasons as low as $14.99 each.
There were several reports that Best Buy would start offering new Ultra HD Blu-rays from Fox on Feb. 14, but the store in Costa Mesa, Calif., didn't have any copies on display (though the chain's website does indicate a few titles available for pickup). The bulk of the first wave of UHD Blu-rays from Fox, Lionsgate and others are due March 1.
Walmart and Best Buy 'Spectre' cover variants
The latest James Bond film, Spectre, arrived at retail Feb. 9 with several options for retail exclusives of the Fox-distributed title.
Best Buy offered an exclusive steelbook Blu-ray case with the film, with a $5 savings when purchased with a previously released Bond Blu-ray steelbook.
Target offered the DVD and Blu-ray with an exclusive bonus DVD containing 20 minutes of content, including a featurette about the title sequence and a music video for the theme song. The disc also included the "Shadow of Spectre" featurette that was available in the Bond collection boxed set released last year, but updated to include the new film.
Walmart went with its usual gimmick and offered a bare-bones DVD version of Spectre with special box art, which is kind of a head-scratcher since the only extra on the regular DVD is a 10-minute bundle of video blogs, and Walmart's vanilla DVD was offered at the same price as the other stores were offering the standard DVD (or, in Target's case, a DVD with a bonus disc). At least Walmart also offered the regular DVD as well for a few dollars more.
Best Buy also had the exclusive Blu-ray version of Broad Green's critically acclaimed 99 Homes.
Best Bey's 'Batman: Bad Blood' and 'Snow White' exclusives
At least three of the major Feb. 2 new releases were offered with retail exclusives presenting some sort of packaging variant.
Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Signature Edition Blu-ray came in special storybook packaging at Target, while Best Buy had the re-release of the animated classic with a slip-cover adorned with lenticular artwork.
Warner sent the direct-to-video animated movie Batman: Bad Blood to retailers with three configurations: a DVD, a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and a deluxe Blu-ray combo pack with a Nightwing figurine. Best Buy offered the deluxe edition with a pack-in Batman: Battle for the Cowl graphic novel. Target offered the Blu-ray combo pack with a steelbook case.
Best Buy also offered Lionsgate's The Last Witch Hunter Blu-ray in a steelbook case.
As part of its incentives for pre-orders, Best Buy offered $5 in My Best Buy membership rewards for several titles, as well as special exclusives for each. Lionsgate's The Hunger Game: Mockingjay — Part 2 and Fox's Spectre Blu-rays will come with steelbook cases; Disney's The Good Dinosaur Blu-ray will come with lenticular packaging; and Fox's The Peanuts Movie will include a Snoopy toy. The membership rewards deal also includes Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Retailers were quick to attach exclusives to Sony Pictures' Goosebumps upon its Jan. 26 DVD and Blu-ray release, but PBS's Downton Abbey: Season 6 also got some love.
For Goosebumps, Best Buy offered the Blu-ray combo pack (not the 3D version) with a pack-on "Goosebumps" book, A Shocker on Shock Street.
Target offered Goosebumps with a $7.50 coupon for movie tickets. Walmart offered a DVD triple-feature that grouped Goosebumps with Jumanji and Zathura.
For the final season of "Downton Abbey," Target offered the DVD and Blu-ray with a free notepad with character quotes. Barnes and Noble offered the DVD and Blu-ray with a pack of notecards on "Downton Abbey" stationery.
Walmart is touting the digital release of the James Bond movie Spectre with a combo deal attaching access to the film via Vudu.com with DVD versions of previous Bond films. Spectre with Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall was offered at $22.96 each combo, with Spectre and the whole Daniel Craig collection offered at $27.96.
Target offered recent DVD releases Minions and Hotel Transylvania 2 for $10 each.