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'Pirates' Spawns Treasure Chest of Promotions

5 Dec, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Midnight sales. Special promotions and giveaways. And lots of anticipation that this could be the biggest one yet.

Three weeks after the dramatic U.S. launch, and instant sellout, of Sony's hot new PlayStation 3 video game console, there's another round of excitement building about another hot new product.

This time, it's today's DVD release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, the year's No. 1 movie, with domestic box office earnings of $422 million.

To fuel demand — and snag as many impulse buyers as they can as the holiday shopping season begins to wind down — big retailers are scrambling to ride Pirates momentum.

Wal-Mart's Sunday circular featured key art from Dead Man's Chest on five advertised TVs and laptops. Customers who buy the DVD at the discounter get a free T-shirt, as well as the chance to buy an exclusive DVD-CD two-pack with 10 songs. The flier also touts the fact that Dead Man's Chest will go on sale promptly at midnight at all 24-hour Wal-Marts, noting, “They're closed. We're open. Be the first on your block to own Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.”

Target is giving away an “exclusive, collectible light-up pin,” while Best Buy is giving Dead Man's Chest DVD buyers a free additional disc of “exclusive bonus footage” that includes behind-the-scenes footage, a photo gallery and a look at the franchise's international popularity. Best Buy customers also can pick up a Captain Jack Sparrow headknocker for an additional $9.99. It “must be purchased on same receipt,” according to the chain's Sunday circular.

Circuit City is advertising Dead Man's Chest for $13.99, the lowest price around, with a limit of three per customer. The electronics retailer has an exclusive DVD game based on the movie. The circular also shows Dead Man's Chest art on no fewer than 17 monitors and notes, on the front page, “shop early Tuesday 9 a.m.” Circuit City stores normally open at 10 a.m.

Disney reportedly is shipping 20 million copies of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest to retailers, enough to easily make it one of the top five video sellers of all time. That would put Dead Man's Chest in the same league as Finding Nemo (28 million videos sold), Shrek 2 (21.6 million videos) and the all-time bestseller, Disney's The Ling King, with since its original home video release in 1995 has sold more than 30 million DVDs and VHS cassettes.

The original Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl came out in December 2003 and sold 11 million videos its first week in stores, 90% of them DVD.

The day before Thanksgiving, nearly two weeks before its street date, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was No. 1 on Amazon.com's list of the top-selling DVDs, based solely on advance orders.

In the United Kingdom, where Dead Man's Chest was released Nov. 20, 1.5 million DVDs sold in one week, making it the fastest-selling DVD in that country ever.

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