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TK's MORNING BUZZ: Video Retailers Are Already Licking Their Chops in Anticipation of the Fourth Quarter

18 Jun, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

The summer box office hit parade continues, with Tomb Raider chalking up a better-than-expected opening weekend and Atlantis pulling in a respectable No. 2 showing despite the continued strength of Shrek in the children's market.

We've now got two movies about to pass the $200 million mark, Shrek and Pearl Harbor, and another weekend in which box office spending is way up from last year.

Video retailers are already licking their chops in anticipation of the fourth quarter, when most of these films will come to video. It's not just the collective box office clout, but also the variety, retailers say, with virtually every genre and subgenre represented. Adding to the optimistic mood is the presence on the fourth-quarter video slate of one huge theatrical holdover from 2000 -- How the Grinch Stole Christmas -- for which Universal is mounting one of its most ambitious marketing campaigns ever.

The other side to all of this, and one retailers are watching with a fair amount of trepidation, is scheduling. Most of the primo dates have already been taken, and retailers with whom I've spoken are hoping the studios will learn from their own past successes (and mistakes) and spread the wealth instead of bunching everything together, as they invariably tend to do.

"Not every title has to come out in November," one retailer quipped, noting the success studios like Disney and Columbia TriStar reaped in recent years by releasing key titles late in the fourth quarter.

The DVD factor should also encourage studios to spread their releases out a little more. With DVD players once again expected to be the hot Christmas gift item, studios might want to hold off releasing some of their key titles until January, particularly if things get a little crowded in the fourth quarter (as if they're not already!).

I'm sure video sales will be huge this coming holiday selling season. But to truly maximize the sales potential, studios will have to put as much effort into managing the flow as they do in marketing their product.

Don't hit us with everything, all at once.

Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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