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Gift Sets Galore Ring in the Holidays

14 Oct, 2004 By: Thomas K. Arnold

The gift sets the studios are preparing in time for the Christmas gift-giving season are incredible — and quite pricey.

For late-blooming fans of HBO's “The Sopranos,” you can get an elaborate gift set with all four seasons currently on DVD for $400.92. The complete first four seasons of “C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation” are available from Paramount in a gift set retailing for $344.99, while Fox will sell you the first eight seasons of “The X-Files” for a hefty $799.84.

On top of that, you've got your predictable star- or director-themed boxed sets: A James Stewart Hollywood Legends Collection (five DVDs) and the W.C. Fields Comedy Collection (also five films) from Universal for $59.98 each; Warner's Alfred Hitchcock Signature Collection, a boxed set of eight films — seven of them new to DVD — priced at $99.92, and Ultimate Oliver Stone Collection (12 films, 14 discs, $129.92 list); and Fox's Farrelly Brothers Collection (three discs, $29.98) and Planet of the Apes Collection (six films, $49.98).

And then there are the super-special editions of special editions like DreamWorks' Shrek: The Story So Far Gift Set, a four-disc, $40 set that includes the original Shrek, the new Shrek 2, and Shrek 3-D, a 16-minute animated “bridge” between the two movies. And MGM's Legally Blonde gift set, with both the original film, the sequel and such nifty extras as a pink notepad and coordinating pen, magnets featuring “Elle-isms” and a really cool outer box to keep everything in. And Disney's Aladdin “special edition collector's DVD gift set,” which in addition to the just-released special edition of the film includes — and I quote from the box — “7 exclusive character portraits, DVD companion book, film frame from movie.” Heck, you know it's gotta be good — there's even a sticker on the box that says, “Limited Supply.”

It all goes to show that while DVD has certainly tilted the market from rental toward sellthrough, from watching movies as a transitory experience to buying movies and building home movie libraries, there is a clear dividing line even among movie purchasers.

There are those who buy movies simply because it's more efficient (no returns) and not much more expensive than renting them, with the added bonus of allowing you to keep them around in case you want to watch them again, share them with a friend or trade them.

And then there are those consumers who have been bitten hard by the collector's bug — the fans and cinephiles who want as much of the whole movie experience as they can get.

These are the folks who are buying the three-disc director's cut of Hellboy even though they already own the two-disc special edition that came out in July.

These are the folks who are eagerly awaiting the extended edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King to place in their solid-oak lawyer's bookcases alongside their prized extended editions of the two earlier films in the trilogy — and probably the two-disc widescreen editions, as well.

And these are the folks who will likely buy, or put on their Christmas wish lists, all of the packages I've mentioned here — which, believe me, is but a mere fraction of what's coming out between now and the holidays.

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