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'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Available Digitally April 1, on Disc April 5

3 Mar, 2016 By: John Latchem, Erik Gruenwedel

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will release the newly minted all-time domestic box office champ, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, on Digital HD April 1, followed by Blu-ray and DVD April 5.

Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger made the announcement at the company's annual shareholder meeting March 3 in Chicago, but the news was apparently leaked earlier in the morning by a preorder posting on the Disney Store website, according to the DVD & Blu-ray Release Report industry tip sheet.

Shareholders in attendance received a movie poster and free digital access code at the Disney Movies Anywhere platform. 

The film is the seventh installment in Lucasfilm's live-action "Star Wars" franchise, and picks up 30 years after the events of 1983's Return of the Jedi, with the galaxy facing a new evil threat. The cast includes original trilogy stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Peter Mayhew and Anthony Daniels, who as C-3PO is the only actor to have been in every "Star Wars" film. New cast members include Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren and Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron. Composer John Williams returned to write the music, which earned him his 50th Oscar nomination.

At the time of the announcement, The Force Awakens has generated $926.5 million at the domestic box office and nearly $2.05 billion globally since its December release, setting numerous box office records along the way.

Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens will be available in Blu-ray/DVD combo pack ($39.99) and a standalone DVD ($29.99) configurations.

Extras include deleted scenes, the feature-length behind-the-scenes documentary Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey, and several featurettes, including "The Story Awakens: The Table Read," "Building BB-8," "Crafting Creatures," "Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight," "John Williams: The Seventh Symphony," "ILM: The Visual Magic of The Force" and "Force For Change," a look at charity efforts inspired by the film.

The film has been available for preorder digitally almost from the moment of its theatrical debut, with chains such as Best Buy and Walmart offering an in-store package containing three mini-posters.

With the packaged-media announcement, several retaillers also began taking preorders on their own exclusive editions of the film. Target will have a Blu-ray with special box art, packaging and 20 minutes of exclusive bonus content accessible digitally. Best Buy has the Blu-ray in a steelbook case with Kylo Ren on the cover. Walmart is listing a version of the Blu-ray with BB-8 cover art and a Star Wars Galactic Connexions trading disc. And the Disney Store is offering preorders a free lithograph and $10 off a future purchase of $40 or more.

The announcement did not include specificiations for a 3D Blu-ray or a 4K UHD BD release. Disney has generally stopped releasing 3D versions of its films except for the Marvel and Pixar brands, though TheDigitalBits.com is reporting a 3D version is slated for later this year. The studio has yet to announce support for the new 4K format with any slate of titles.

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