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.
Target's 'Fifty Shades of Grey' gift set
As Universal's Fifty Shades of Grey entered its first full week, retailers continued to make it their top promotional focus even among the May 12 new releases.
Best Buy offered a steelbook case with the Fifty Shades Blu-ray combo pack, while Target presented a deluxe-edition Blu-ray gift set with 30 minutes of additional bonus content and a journal and pen set. Target also had a Blu-ray combo pack with just the 30-minutes of exclusive extras without the journal.
Walmart had the Fifty Shades combo pack with an exclusive photo book and box art.
Walmart's exclusive 'Selma' Blu-ray
Walmart had a special deluxe Blu-ray edition of Paramount’s Selma containing an AFI Q&A on a bonus disc. Walmart also offered a Selma standalone Blu-ray (without the DVD that makes it a combo pack elsewhere).
The stores also promoted deals for Universal’s Fifty Shades of Grey in anticipation of the Friday, May 8, release. Best Buy offered a steelbook case with the Blu-ray combo pack, while Target presented a deluxe-edition Blu-ray with 30 minutes of additional bonus content and a journal and pen set.
Walmart has the Fifty Shades combo pack with an exclusive book and box art, though a banner on its Fifty Shades Web page touts the disc release as May 15, one week late (the individual product entries list the correct May 8 release).
Walmart's 'Paddington' Blu-ray gift set
Anchor Bay's Paddington arrived at retail April 28 with plenty of options for exclusive add-ons. Target offered the Blu-ray combo pack of the family film with exclusive lenticular packaging and a Meet Paddington book. Best Buy offered the Blu-ray with a pack-on wristwatch, while Walmart had the Blu-ray as a gift pack with a Paddington plush bear.
Among the other new releases, Target offered an exclusive steelbook case with Paramount's The Gambler.
Best Buy offered a $5 Best Buy gift card with the purchase of Sony Pictures' The Wedding Ringer on DVD or Blu-ray.
Best Buy also offers instant viewing of Universal's Fifty Shades of Grey on CinemaNow with preorder of the Blu-ray steelbook combo pack.
Fox’s Taken 3 may as well have been the only notable new release as far as the retailers were concerned April 21, which might be why the weekly ad circulars were more focused on selling catalog titles and promoting preorders for future hits.
While Taken 3 didn’t come with any retail exclusives, Best Buy did push its Blu-ray preorder for Warner’s American Sniper by offering exclusive bonus content when the title arrives May 19.
Target is offering a $5 gift card with preorders for Cinderella, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water and Paddington at Target.com/preorder.
As is typical for DC Universe animated movie releases, Batman vs. Robin arrived April 14 with several retail exclusives.
However, the pattern usually associated with exclusives surrounding the DC titles changed slightly. First, Warner offered a wide-release version of a Blu-ray gift pack with a character figurine, usually reserved for a Best Buy exclusive. As a result, Best Buy spruced up its version of the gift pack, offering a Digital HD copy of Batman: Under the Red Hood and a digital comic book of Batman #1.
Target offered the Blu-ray combo pack in a steelbook case, while Walmart, which usually offers a DVD special edition of such titles, had no exclusive.
Target also touted preorders for American Sniper at Target.com/preorder, offering a Blu-ray steelbook case and a guarantee for guests to pay a lower price if the cost drops before the title is released.
In a slow week for new releases, Target emphasized home video preorders of several titles currently in theaters. In fact, the week's new releases were so low key that some Target stores didn't even bother to put them on shelves.
The highest-profile new release was Lionsgate's A Most Violent Year, which did manage a mention in Target's weekly ad circular. However, the title that seemed to get the most push was a limited-edition re-release of the first season of "Game of Thrones," timed in the week leading up to the premiere of the fifth season on HBO. The major difference with the "Thrones" release seems to be that it comes in slimmer, more conventional packagine for a lower price.
The preorders Target plugged in its weekly ad circular were Furious 7, Fifty Shades of Grey and Insurgent. The chain offered a $5 gift card and delivery by mail of the final produce with advanced orders placed at Target.com/preorder.
Best Buy did list a slate of new releases in its ad circular, but devoted most of its space to clearing out older titles. The chain touted free shipping on orders $35 and up. It should be noted that in the past few weeks, Best Buy altered its promotions strategy, and usually lists just the Blu-ray price for a new title with a note stating "Other format available," or not even offering the DVD version in stores at all.
Walmart's 'Interstellar' gift set
The only March 31 release with any notable exclusive promotion at the major retail chains was Paramount’s Interstellar.
Walmart offered a special gift set of the Christopher Nolan-directed sci-fi film, containing special packaging and a 48-page booklet.
Target offered exclusive steelbook packaging, while Best Buy offered exclusive bonus content — a half-hour panel discussion with Nolan and the cast.
New Blu-ray copies of the film at all locations included a special collectible Imax film cel containing a scene from the film.
Target's 'Hobbit' Blu-ray with Lego
The quest to attract buyers for Warner’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and other new releases March 24 led to a fervor of retailers rallying the troops in the form of several exclusive promotions.
Target offered an edition of the 2D Blu-ray combo pack of the concluding chapter of the “Hobbit” trilogy with pack-in Lego figures of Bard and Bain.
Best Buy offered steelbook packaging for both the Battle of the Five Armies Blu-ray and The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy Blu-ray boxed set.
Walmart offered a single-disc DVD edition of Armies with special box art and almost none of the extras in the widely available two-DVD set. In fact, Walmart didn’t offer the two-DVD set, and sold its single-disc version at about the same price the other stores offered the two-DVD version. However, the DVDs weren’t tagged with a Walmart exclusive sticker, so shoppers who picked up the DVD at Walmart might not have realized there was a version available with substantial bonus features.
Walmart also offered a DVD gift pack of Universal’s Monster High: Haunted, with a Scaremester Collection DVD containing 18 episodes.
In addition, Walmart has a $24.96 preorder for Anchor Bay’s Paddington Blu-ray with an in-store box containing a plush bear and the ability to stream the movie via Vudu.com 10 days before the April 28 street date. The film will be widely available on Digital HD April 17.
For Universal’s Unbroken, Walmart offered a version of the Blu-ray containing a booklet and 30 minutes of exclusive bonus features viewable through Vudu.
Of course, Universal made available a “Legacy of Faith” DVD special edition of Unbroken exclusively through faith-based outlets Family Christian Bookstores, Mardel Christian Bookstores and ChristianBook.com, with a bonus DVD containing an additional 90 minutes of interviews.
Target offered the Unbroken Blu-ray with a collectible bookmark, while Best Buy had a steelbook version of Unbroken as well.
In anticipation of Universal’s Furious 7 in theaters, Target offered a $10 discount off any “Fast & Furious” Blu-ray ($8 each) and a remote-control car toy ($22.99) based on the franchise. The Blu-rays contain a $7.50 coupon to see the new movie, which hits theaters April 3.
Target also had in-store signage touting an additional 10% off new DVDs and Blu-rays via its Cartwheel coupon app.
'101 Dalmatians II' Blu-ray exclusive to Target
Target March 17 had exclusive availability of the Blu-ray version of Disney's animated sequel 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure. The 2003 film was a direct-to-video follow-up to the 1961 animated classic, and the new Blu-ray is timed as a companion to the "Diamond Edition" release of the original film earlier this year. The London Adventure Blu-ray was advertised in Target's weekly ad circular for $17.99 and upon its release was available only in stores and not listed on Target's website.
Among the other new releases, DreamWorks Animation’s Penguins of Madagascar received the most attention. All the retailers sold the special packaging configurations with wind-up penguin toys, though only Walmart varied the price.
Best Buy offered a $7.99 Penguins lunchbox, though lowered the price to $4.99 when purchased at the same time as a Penguins disc.
Target offered the Blu-ray combo pack with the exclusive featurette “Are You Smarter Than a Penguin?”
For Fox’s Exodus: Gods and Kings, Best Buy offered the 3D Blu-ray combo pack with 30 minutes of additional footage.
Sony Pictures’ Blu-ray of the Annie remake at Target came with a bonus disc of exclusive extras, plus a $5 savings when the Annie movie was bought at the same time as the soundtrack CD. Target’s version of the soundtrack contained two exclusive songs.
Best Buy touted a Facebook coupon with a $5 savings off the Annie Blu-ray.
Walmart offered the Annie Blu-ray with a plush toy of the dog Sandy.
Target's 'Mockingjay — Part 1' Blu-ray exclusive edition
The huge Friday, March 6, rollout of Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 carried over to overwhelm some of the March 10 new releases.
Target offered the Blu-ray combo pack with an exclusive bonus DVD containing four behind-the-scenes featurettes running about 45 minutes total, plus special box art and a booklet.
Best Buy offered the film in a steelbook case, while Walmart offered a slimmed-down Blu-ray edition with special box art, no DVD version and minimal extras.
For the March 10 titles, a couple new kidvid titles drew the most promotional interest. Walmart offered a DVD gift set of Fox’s “Air Bud” spinoff Russell Madness with a doggie plush, while Target offered a $5 discount when Warner’s The Flintstones and WWE: Stone Age Smackdown! was purchased with a 6-inch WWE action figure (priced at $9.99).
Best Buy has an exclusive window on the Blu-ray edition of Image Entertainment’s Wolfcop, which will be available elsewhere May 12.
Walmart had an exclusive version of the two-disc Blu-ray of The Sound of Music: 50th Anniversary Edition with a booklet, as well as a Peppa Pig: Muddy Puddles gift set with a plush toy.
Among Best Buy preorders, Universal’s Unbroken includes steelbook packaging and Paramount’s Interstellar includes exclusive bonus content, as does Warner’s American Sniper.