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Breaking Big

2 Dec, 2013 By: Stephanie Prange

'Breaking Bad: The Complete Series'

TV sets, such as the “Breaking Bad” set from Sony Pictures, offer fans more extras and the chance to own a whole series

Breaking Bad: The Complete Series is getting the blockbuster studio treatment from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment this fourth quarter. The studio created a  documentary, staged a special event with top talent and catered to the series’ rabid fan base with extras and packaging.

Breaking Bad: The Complete Series, a huge gift set released Nov. 26, packs in more than 55 hours of extras and memorabilia selected by series creator Vince Gilligan, all in a collectible barrel. Most significant among the bonuses is the two-plus hour documentary, No Half Measures: Creating the Final Season of Breaking Bad.

“‘Breaking Bad’ not only has become one of the most acclaimed dramatic series in the history of television, but it has also developed a large and ferociously loyal fan base,” said Lexine Wong, senior EVP of worldwide marketing at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. “So, on the occasion of the release of Breaking Bad: The Final Season, it was very important for us to provide these consumers with a product equal to their expectations. I think that SPHE has met this challenge by providing an abundance of real value added features to help alleviate the ‘withdrawal’ that many fans are experiencing with the end of the series.

“These include, among other things, a brilliantly clever alternate ending to the series and, exclusive to the Breaking Bad: The Complete Series barrel gift set, a fascinating and hugely entertaining two-hour documentary on the making of the final season.”

Sony Pictures’ push for the release is evidence of the growing appeal of full series sets on disc.

“Owning everything in one big set is definitely appealing to fans of a show, especially since the price for the complete series is usually less than buying each set individually,” said Gord Lacey, editor of TVShowsonDVD.com. “The studios like it because they’re often just repackaging material that’s already been released in season form into a big set, which gives the product new life.

“It can also be a way for them to correct issues with the season sets. Warner Bros. did this when they released the complete set for ‘The O.C.,’ where they retransferred the first season in widescreen (it was originally released in full frame), and CBS recently did this with ‘Hawaii Five-O’ — the 10th season wasn’t remastered when the season was released, but has a new transfer on the complete series set.”

A manager at Movie Stop in Buford, Ga., said full series sets appeal most to hardcore fans of the show. The complete series sets also offer special material not found in single season sets. One example is the apron accompanying the “Breaking Bad” series, which was a nice touch, he said.

“Some people really like that kind of stuff,” he said. “It’s a physical connection to the show you can’t find anywhere else.”

Michael Pachter, analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, said series that are continuing storylines, such as “Breaking Bad,” are particularly appealing in the series format.

“I think that the networks are doing their best to maximize profits and will experiment with timing on boxed sets to see if they are helped by or hurt by streaming on services like Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflix,” he said.

In fact, “Breaking Bad” star Bob Odenkirk noted the affect Netflix streaming had in building the fan base for the series.
The show gained traction toward the end because of Netflix, he said, with new fans binge-viewing previous seasons before tuning in live for the latest episodes.

“The show took off because of the type of show it is,” Odenkirk said. “People talk about it, share it with their friends, play it on Netflix, streaming, and that was a big kick for it.”

Additional reporting by Erik Gruenwedel and Chris Tribbey.

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