Insights from home entertainment industry experts. Home Media blogs give you the inside scoop on entertainment news, DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases, and the happenings at key studios and entertainment retailers. “TK's Take” analyzes and comments on home entertainment news and trends, “Agent DVD Insider” talks fanboy entertainment, “IndieFile” delivers independent film news, “Steph Sums It Up” offers pithy opinions on the state of the industry, and “Mike’s Picks” offers bite-sized recommendations of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases.
Walmart's 'Big Hero 6' gift set
When it comes to retail exclusives, animated fare and superhero movies are usually the best bet, and Disney’s Big Hero 6 just happens to be both.
Among the Big Hero 6 exclusives available upon its disc debut Feb. 24, Walmart offered a deluxe gift set of the Blu-ray combo pack with a “Science of Big Hero 6” bonus DVD.
Target offered Big Hero 6 in a steelbook case, plus a $5 savings toys based on the film.
Best Buy had the film with exclusive lenticular box art.
The Disney store had offered preorders of Big Hero 6 with speical lithograph giveaways.
Among other films, Walmart stocked a DVD two-pack of the “Horrible Bosses” films upon the release of the second movie, while Best Buy offered a $7 savings with the purchase of both films on Blu-ray.
Target offered the final season of “Sons of Anarchy” on disc with exclusive box art and previous seasons for $14.99 each. Best Buy offered $10 off the seventh season with the purchase of any previous season on disc.
Walmart's '101 Dalmatians' with bonus disc
Walmart offered a gift set of the Feb. 10 Blu-ray of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition with a bonus DVD of animated content called Kanine Krunchies: Dog Show.
While the regular Walmart price for 101 Dalmatians is $22.96 for the Blu-ray and $2 more for the gift pack at $24.96, the first week both were offered for $18.96, meaning the bonus DVD was essentially free with purchase.
Best Buy set its focus on preorders, offering 100 My Best Buy points for preorders of select titles, with exclusives such as a steelbook for Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 and Warner’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, and a lenticular cover for Disney’s Big Hero 6.
For Game of Thrones: Season Four, Best Buy will offer five exclusive covers, including an online exclusive. Details are at BestBuy.com/GameofThrones4.
Target touted a $5 coupon off the purcase of music, books or movies totally $25 or more.
Fox’s home video release of the latest romantic drama based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, The Best of Me, inspired a few retail exclusives.
Target offered the Blu-ray of The Best of Me with a bonus disc containing a half-hour of additional behind-the-scenes featurettes, while Walmart paired the DVD in a two-pack with another Sparks movie, Safe Haven.
The only other notable exclusive on a Feb. 3 new release was Walmart’s steelbook Blu-ray edition of Dracula Untold.
Among other promotions, Best Buy offered a limited-edition minion hat for $1.99 with the purchase of a select title for $9.99 each.
In addition, Best Buy offered a $10 gift card with the purchase of two select TV seasons, and triple My Best Buy membership points on any movie purchase.
Walmart offered a $12.96 DVD (with Vudu digital copy) movie called A Little Game, starring F. Murray Abraham, Ralph Macchio, Janeane Garofalo and Olympia Dukakis.
Best Buy's 'Justice League: Throne of Atlantis' with Aquaman figurine
The two big titles Jan. 27 in terms of retail exclusives were Sony Pictures’ World War II drama Fury and Warner’s animated superhero adventure Justice League: Throne of Atlantis.
For Fury, Best Buy offered several exclusive extras, including additional behind-the-scenes documentaries. Target offered Fury with steelbook packaging, while Walmart offered a two-pack of Fury with Company of Heroes.
Best Buy offered a Blu-ray edition of Throne of Atlantis with a pack-on Aquaman figurine. Target offered the film with a steelbook case, while Walmart had an exclusive early window on a Throne of Atlantis two-DVD special edition.
For PBS’s Downton Abbey: Season 5, Target offered the disc with an exclusive “Music of Downton” CD.
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s sci-fi actioner Lucy took retail by storm Jan. 20, with exclusives offered by each of the three major brick-and-mortar chains.
Two of them offered special packaging options for the Blu-ray — Target offered a steelbook case and Best Buy offered a lenticular cover.
Walmart offered a version of the Lucy Blu-ray with an interactive screenplay of the film accessed at LucyScript.com/Walmart using a code found in the packaging.
Another Universal title, The Boxtrolls, came with character cards in Target’s special edition of the Blu-ray combo pack.
Walmart offered a DVD of the football drama 23 Blast for $12.96, the story of high school football star Travis Freeman, who must decide whether or not to keep playing after going blind.
Looking at preorders, Walmart is offering a preorder exclusive for the Blu-ray The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1. The $19.96 purchase includes access to the film on Vudu.com two weeks before the disc streets, plus a behind-the-scenes featurette on Vudu and a preview of the Divergent sequel, Insurgent.
The Disney Store is offering a preorder on the Feb. 24 Big Hero 6 Blu-ray with an exclusive lithograph set.
None of the new releases Jan. 13 had any special exclusives attached to them at the major retail chains. But Target did offer a promotion for Fox’s new Gone Girl DVD and Blu-ray.
Shoppers could save $5 when they bought the film on disc in conjunction with the paperback of the original Gone Girl novel, priced at $12.
Target also offered several $5 Fox DVDs with exclusive covers, plus a deal to buy one and get the second for 50% off.
Walmart had a few direct-to-video DVD titles, such as Christian Mingle: The Movie, based on the dating website and starring Lacy Chabert, for $12.96; a DVD double feature of Universal’s The Best Man and The Best Man Holiday for $14.96; and Arc Entertainment’s Zarra’s Law.
Target's 'Left Behind' Blu-ray combo pack
As the magnitude of new releases begin to pick up after the holiday season, the first retail exclusive of 2015 comes in the form of the latest Nicolas Cage Thriller, eOne's Left Behind.
The only special promotion for the title, however, came at Target, which offered a special Blu-ray/DVD combo pack with bonus features. The wide release is just a Blu-ray-only edition.
Otherwise, retailers are still burning off surplus inventory after the holidays.
Best Buy had a buy-one-get-one-free deal on $9.99 fitness titles.
Walmart offered preorders for the Jan. 27 release of Downton Abbey: Season 5 on DVD ($29.96) and Blu-ray ($34.96), with immediate access to the first episode on Vudu.com.
Coming off the holidays, the big retail chains were more focused on clearing inventory than pushing a relatively small slate of new releases spearheaded by Sony Pictures’ The Equalizer.
Best Buy offered $5.99 movies on DVD and Blu-ray and $9.99 TV seasons on DVD and Blu-ray.
Target offered $5 DVDs and a buy-3-get-1-free deal.
Walmart introduced the Vudu Spark, its own HDMI dongle that plugs into a TV’s HDMI port to allow viewers to use their HDTV to view Vudu content. The $24.96 device includes $20 in Vudu purchases.
Unsurprisingly, studios avoided releasing any major new releases Dec. 23 to avoid them getting swallowed by a last-minute Christmas shopping rush. The new titles amounted to a few films that barely dented the box office and a few boxed sets of cable TV shows.
Instead, the big chains offered huge savings on catalog title and recent hits. Target had a buy-3-get-1-free deal on $5 DVDs, and had assortments of $9.50 and $14.99 discs.
Target also offered a free $5 gift card with a disc preorder of Game of Thrones: Season Four, Big Hero 6 or The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 at Target.com/pre-order.
Best Buy touted TV seasons for $14.99 or $199 each.
Walmart was apparently the only place to get a DVD copy of Warner's new release The Good Lie, with Reese Witherspoon, available elsewhere just as a Blu-ray/DVD combo.
In other sellthrough news, Paramount Home Media Distribution is lauding the first-week sales of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as the top disc debut in terms of box office to disc sales ratio among 2014 films grossing more than $100 million, although the studio hasn't released unit data or comparative numbers.
Walmart's TMNT BD gift set
The big retailers celebrated the Dec. 16 disc release of Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by trying to prove which one had the most “Turtle Power.”
Target offered a wide array of exclusives. First, it offered the Blu-ray combo pack (not the 3D edition) in four different character slipcovers, one for each of the Turtles. These special editions also included 30 minutes of exclusive bonus content. In addition, Target offered a free pizza and soda at the Target Café with purchase of the movie (copies of which were on display at the Café).
Not to be outdone, Walmart offered a gift set of the 2D Blu-ray with four Turtles figurines, and also the DVD edition with a Vudu.com digital copy.
Best Buy’s BD combo pack in a steelbook case seemed rather tame by comparison.
The 2D Blu-ray combo packs at all the stores came with free ninja masks.
Walmart offered the DVD of Fox’s The Maze Runner with the DVD of Chronicle.
Target offered a $5 discount with purchase of The Maze Runner on disc and any book in the series.
Among other exclusives, Best Buy had Anchor Bay’s Black Sails: The Complete First Season on DVD and Blu-ray early, well before the Jan. 6 wide release.
Target offered a 10% discount on all movies and TV shows on disc through its Carthwheel coupon app.
Walmart had exclusive availability of the DVD of the first season of “Survivor’s Remorse.”