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Preorder Discounts Deep for <I>Passion</I>

11 Jun, 2004 By: Holly J. Wagner

Preorder opportunities abound for those who can't wait for the Aug. 31 home entertainment debut of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ.

The title carries a $29.98 SRP on DVD and $24.98 on VHS, but preorder discounts are deep.

The Sam's Club Web site is offering 50-disc “churchpacks” for $898 on DVD and $795 on VHS, besting Amazon.com's $1,049.30 price tag for the DVD packs and $874.30 for VHS packs, although Amazon.com offers free shipping. Hastings was offering the churchpacks online for $999 on DVD and $849 on VHS. Walmart.com was not offering the churchpacks, but other suppliers offering them include Alliance Entertainment, Baker & Taylor, Blockbuster Video, Buy.com, Entertainment Resource Inc., Giant Eagle, Hastings Entertainment, Ingram Entertainment, Tommy K's, Tower Records, VPD, Urban Gospel Network and WaxWorks online.

Blockbuster is accepting online preorders for the title now, but in-store preorders will not be available until July 6. Churchpacks will be available for $1,099.50 on DVD and $999.50 on VHS. In both cases, the buyer pays shipping & handling. That also holds true for Towerrecords.com, which was taking churchpack preorders at 997.99 on DVD and $847.99 on VHS.

Single-copy DVDs are available for $19.99 from Fox's online store, $18.38 from the Sam's Club's Web site, $17.99 on Amazon and $17.96 on Walmart.com.

Single-copy VHS is $16.95 from Foxstore.com, $18.38 from Samsclub.com and $19.53 from Walmart.com.

Since the film was shot in Aramaic and Latin, it seems odd that Amazon.com was charging $20.98 for the English-language VHS, but the full $24.98 SRP for single copies of the Spanish-dubbed version on VHS.

None of the versions in either format have bonus materials, although Fox is offering custom-imprinted church slipcases via Word Distribution as a separate accessory.

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