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Agent DVD

John Latchem

Agent DVD Insider

, Managing Editor

A graduate of UCLA, John Latchem worked as a newspaper editor and did freelance work for such publications as The Hollywood Reporter before joining Home Media Magazine in 2005. He serves as editor of the reviews and TV DVD sections, as well as the annual Agent DVD consumer issue that coincides with San Diego Comic-Con International.

May 25, 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.

By: John Latchem

May 18, 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.

By: John Latchem

May 13, 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.

By: John Latchem

May 11, 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.”



By: John Latchem

May 04, 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.

By: John Latchem

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.


TK’s Take is brought to you this month by

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment


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