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Best Buy to Slash ‘Watchmen’ DVD to $9.99 Aug. 2

29 Jul, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel


Best Buy Co., beginning Aug. 2, will offer Warner Home Video’s Watchmen for $9.99, a 65% price cut from the standard DVD’s $28.98 retail price on its July 21 release, according to a source familiar with the No. 1 consumer electronics retailer.

Best Buy, in its weekly newspaper ad circular, will also offer the Blu-ray Watchmen director’s cut with digital copy for $24.99 ($35.99 SRP), which is $3.50 more than what Amazon is currently charging. Amazon is charging $14.99 for the Watchmen DVD.

The expedited price reduction for Watchmen, which finished atop of the national home video sales and rental charts its first week in stores, would appear to underscore escalating studio and retail concerns about the softening DVD sellthrough market. 

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group said first-half 2009 sellthrough revenue fell 13.5%.

Indeed, Time Warner CFO John Martin said the studio had reduced shipment returns by $40 million compared to last year, highlighted by catalog. Cost cutting could be part the plan.

Michael Nathanson, media analyst with Sanford Bernstein in New York, said it was fair to assume cost-conscious studios were offering retailers incentives not to return unsold product.

Eric Handler, analyst with MKM Partners in Washington, D.C., said the rapid price reduction underscored the reality that mediocre movies have to be priced well to in order to generate DVD sales.

While it generated $107.5 million in its domestic box office run (and another $75 million internationally), Watchmen appealed to a select fan base contrary to most big-budget comic book-based movies.

“Makes you wonder about the deals for [post-Thanksgiving] Black Friday,” Handler said.

Rental kiosk operator Redbox has begun offering used sellthrough titles from $7 just weeks after the new release date, according to Pali Capital analyst Richard Greenfield.

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