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Insights from home entertainment industry experts. Home Media blogs give you the inside scoop on entertainment news, DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases, and the happenings at key studios and entertainment retailers. “TK's Take” analyzes and comments on home entertainment news and trends, “Agent DVD Insider” talks fanboy entertainment, “IndieFile” delivers independent film news, “Steph Sums It Up” offers pithy opinions on the state of the industry, and “Mike’s Picks” offers bite-sized recommendations of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases.
In one of the weakest weeks for new releases in recent memory, with the box office performance of new titles barely topping $22 million combined, one shouldn’t be surprised not to find all the new releases on shelves.
But in many cases, retailers seem hesitant to offer the Blu-ray version of what would oterwise be deemed an obscure release. In the case of new Fox titles Conviction and Never Let Me Go, none of the major retailers advertised the Blu-ray version in their weekly circulars, only Best Buy stocked the Blu-ray version in stores, and Target didn’t even offer the Conviction Blu-ray on its website.
Instead, most promotional efforts were tied into Disney’s new direct-to-video sequel Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2, which was available in large quantities in both DVD and Blu-ray formats.
Not as easy to find is Paramount’s new Mean Girls 2, which is offered only on DVD. Among major retailers surveyed in Southern California, only Walmart had copies on shelves. Target didn’t even list it on its website, and Best Buy’s website indicated copies were in stores, but a Best Buy in Westminster, Calif., didn’t have any on display.
By: John Latchem
While 3D might dominate discussion about the future of packaged media, the Blu-ray offshoot has yet to find much traction at retail.
Though it is still early in the format’s lifespan and only a handful of titles have been released, the 3D versions of titles are not being offered on shelves at places such as Target and Walmart. For now, electronics specialists such as Best Buy seem to be the place to go for 3D product.
Target, however, is continuing its aggressive loss-leader Blu-ray pricing on new releases. Jan. 25 saw a Blu-ray version of Red offered at a low $13, same as the DVD version.
Best Buy, however, cornered the market on exclusives for Red, offering a comic book with the Blu-ray/DVD special edition version, as well as a free movie ticket to see Drive Angry.
The only other exclusive of note came via Walmart’s offering of elastic character bands with the DVD of Sony Pictures’ direct-to-video sequel Open Season 3, which was offered at $19.96, the same price Walmart offered the Blu-ray.
Best Buy, on the other hand, didn’t include Open Season 3 in its weekly ad circular.
By: John Latchem
With the debut of the direct-to-video prequel Death Race 2 Jan. 18, only Best Buy was allowed to sell a boxed set containing the Blu-ray versions of both “Death Race” movies, offered at $29.99.
Target, on the other hand, didn’t bother to put Death Race 2 in its weekly ad circular. Instead, it made a big deal about the new movie version of Freakonomics, which it offered at $17.99 bundled with a paperback version of the book upon which it is based.
In what might not be a good sign for TV on Blu-ray at retail, only Best Buy stocked the Blu-ray version of Justified: The Complete First Season, while other retailers had the DVD set on shelves (at about $19.99). But Best Buy still didn’t bother listing the $24.99 price in its weekly ad.
Best Buy also included a copy of the first episode of the second season through its CinemaNow service with purchase of the season one boxed set.
Other Best Buy deals included double Reward Zone points with a purchase of Despicable Me and a selection of recent hits from $12.99 to $14.99 on DVD and from $16.99 to $19.99 on Blu-ray Disc.
By: John Latchem
When I fall in love with a movie or TV show, I generally want to learn as much about it as possible. It’s always fun to pop in a DVD and keep an eye out for hidden details or bits of trivia about which you might not have known.
The Internet has proved to be a great resource for that (thank you Wikipedia), but one shouldn’t overlook the volumes of published tie-ins that inevitably find their way to the market in the wake of a pop-culture phenomenon, some of which are officially sanctioned, and some of which are not.
I’m not just talking about episode guides that were once a staple of the tie-in market. For any popular movie or TV show, you may find dozens upon dozens of books seeking to analyze the stories and characters, or the science or philosophy behind the show.
Take the show “House,” for example. Over the holidays I was given a copy of the book Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D. by Barbara Barnett, published by ECW Press. It’s an exhaustive resource to the show filled with essays that explore the various themes and ethical issues portrayed week to week on the medical drama, as well as an episode guide for the first six seasons that keeps track of the medical mysteries, the complications that ensue, to whom House is mean in a given week, and other trivia and observations. (The book’s title refers to how House thinks outside the box to diagnose his patients, alluding to a med-school axiom that suggests when one hears hoofbeats, one should think horses, not zebras.)
Any “House” fan (as I am) would find a book like this immensely entertaining.
So next time you’re heading home from the video store, be sure to stop by the bookstore too. You might learn something new.
By: John Latchem
Not much fanfare greeted the few new releases that hit shelves Jan. 11. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s The Social Network was the biggest new release, but most retailers shied away from any major promotional deals.
Best Buy and Amazon.com, however, did offer Social Network at an incredibly low price typically reserved for a holiday sale: $12.99 for the DVD and $16.99 for the Blu-ray.
Best Buy also offered a deal on a couple of other recently released Sony Pictures titles: a $10 discount with the purchase of the Blu-ray versions of both Resident Evil: Afterlife and Salt.
Another sale at Best Buy offered Blu-ray two-packs at anywhere from $12.99 to $16.99 each, and recent TV DVD releases at $19.99 each.
Target offered the new Chuggington: Ride the Rails kidvid DVD at $12.99 with exclusive soundbook packaging: a case that plays sounds associated with whatever button is pressed.
Other deals at Target included Disney Blu-ray/DVD combo packs offered at $19.99, an assortment of catalog titles at $4.75 and $10 each, and a selection of TV DVD seasons from $8.99 to $14.99.
By: John Latchem