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'Star Wars,' Walmart Among Latest Home Entertainment Hall of Fame Honorees

20 Aug, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey

Sony’s Mitch Singer, Gaiam’s Bill Sondheim and Avi Lerner also to be honored

This year’s inductees into the Variety Home Entertainment Hall of Fame include the Blu-ray Disc of Star Wars The Complete Saga, as well as individuals Mitch Singer, chief digital strategy officer of Sony Pictures; Gaiam president Bill Sondheim; and Avi Lerner, producer and founder of Millennium Films. In addition, Walmart will be honored with the Hall of Fame’s first Innovation Award during the Dec. 3 ceremony to be held in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The “Star Wars” Blu-ray, produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in September 2011, is the top-selling catalog Blu-ray and top Blu-ray preorder of all time, according to Fox. The set contains all six chapters from the sci-fi saga, plus hours of bonus content.

Singer is responsible for coordinating Sony’s worldwide anti-piracy efforts and is also president of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, the cross-industry consortium responsible for UltraViolet.

Sondheim has led Gaiam since 2010 and oversaw the acquisition of Vivendi Entertainment this year, boosting Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment’s overall library to more than 7,000 titles.

Lerner has more than 350 films to his credit, and also opened Nu Image in 1992.

“These honorees demonstrate the advances being made on every front in home entertainment,” said Linda Buckley-Bruno, publishing director of Variety. “They have rewritten the rules in creative, in marketing and distribution, and in technology. Avi combines the best instincts about what audiences want with innovative business models to generate success across distribution platforms. Mitch has worked tirelessly on the development of new usage models that allow consumers to use legally acquired content flexibly, conveniently and easily. And Bill has built a career out of innovative ways to connect entertainment fans with the products that they love.”

Walmart’s Innovation Award is a nod to the retailer’s home entertainment commitment for both physical and digital. Chris Nagelson, VP divisional merchandise manager, will accept the award.

Proceeds from the 2012 Variety Home Entertainment Hall of Fame will benefit Starlight Children’s Foundation, a global health and education charity. Individual tickets can be purchased for $495 each, or $4,950 for a table for 10. Visit variety.com/events for more information.

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