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21 Jan, 2002 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Happy Monday, and welcome to one of my periodic "odds and ends" columns -- a testament or an indictment of three-dot journalism, take your pick…

DVD's Right on Target
A lot of people must have gotten cheap DVD players for Christmas. The local Target has yanked cassettes out of its budget video rack at the head of one of the checkout lanes (a primo spot occupied, at the head of other checkout lanes, by candy, magazines and snack cakes) and replaced them with DVDs. Stigmata and other titles are priced at $9.44, a couple of bucks more than the VHS cassettes before the holidays. The ploy works: While I was standing in line with an armload of plastic organizers, the people ahead of me grabbed two titles to join a pair of full-price units, American Beauty and X-Men, already in their cart, and the two women behind me (whose cart, by the way, was filled with nothing but five jumbo packs of Charmin toilet tissue) began browsing for something to feed their new DVD player (don't you love overheard conversations?)….

Golden Opportunity
The Golden Globe Awards were still going on last night as I was writing this column. I wonder, how many retailers are going to be shrewd enough to have special "Golden Globe" sections when their stores open for business today? Keep in mind that while award shows are proliferating like rabbits (my colleague, Bruce Apar, a far better wordsmith than me, expressed these same sentiments much more eloquently in a recent "Working Weekend" here on the Hive), the Globes are considered a harbinger for the Oscars and typically get a lot of attention from the media. My unsolicited advice, by the way, is directed at all retailers -- you'd be surprised how slow even some of the biggest chains are to pick up on obvious promotional ideas such as this one. Incidentally, Jennifer Connolly, who won best supporting actress for A Beautiful Mind, delivers a deliciously tragic performance in Requiem for a Dream. Expect a significant bump in demand for the latter film, available from Artisan…

Diversity Training
Speaking of promotional opportunities, keep in mind that today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and next month is Black History Month. There's a plethora of appropriate product to spotlight, including a great new DVD of the minseries "Roots" that's back on TV for its 25th anniversary…

Meanwhile, at the Box Office
…Lord of the Rings was dislodged from the No. 1 spot it's held for four consecutive weeks by Black Hawk Down, Ridley Scott's take on a failed 1993 U.S. mission in Somalia. But the fact that Rings held onto the top spot for so long might indicate that lots of people saw it twice, a trait that often leads to long legs at the rental counter. Contrast Rings to Harry Potter, which fell off sharply after an initial burst of interest -- but still managed to sell enough tickets this past weekend to become the ninth highest-grossing film of all time, passing Independence Day (Harry's now at $308.7 million in domestic gross revenues).

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