Summit Expands Distribution Potential for ‘New Moon’20 Jan, 2010 By: Susanne Ault
Although Twilight was the top-selling title of 2009, Summit Entertainment is changing its distribution formula for the March 20 disc release of sequel New Moon.
Summit’s launch strategy for Twilight, which has sold 9.2 million DVD and Blu-ray copies in the United States, according to the studio, was considered out-of-the-box last year. Wal-Mart exclusively sold the single-disc standard-definition configuration for most of 2009, and Best Buy and Target scored an exclusive sales window on the Blu-ray version of the film. The idea was to play to retail strengths, offering versions that best fit each chain’s customer tastes.
However, Summit is broadening its approach to The Twilight Saga: New Moon, widely rolling out the Blu-ray version to all retailers to match the expanding high-definition consumer base. As far as standard-definition DVD goes, the studio is solely selling a two-disc configuration of the title. That decision came after learning that the overwhelming majority of fans bought the similar extras-packed two-DVD version of Twilight.
The studio will bow a single-DVD version of New Moon that will include few bonus features, but just into the rental channel.
“We are continuing to create products for retailers based on who the customers are,” said Steve Nickerson, Summit’s president of home entertainment. “But we are doing some different things. We aren’t having exclusive windows this year.”
Last year, just 3% of Twilight sales were Blu-ray, noted Nickerson. That is well below the 12% to 15% average Blu-ray sales portion for many 2009 new releases. But Summit projects that interest will rise in 2010 for New Moon in high-def.
“Because of the female-driven nature of the franchise, the amount of Blu-ray sales was less significant on Twilight than it was for other films of other genres,” Nickerson said. “And that will still be the case this year [for New Moon]. But Blu-ray has really grown in the last year. It’s big enough that all retailers want to be able to sell the product. Look at all the circulars, every title cover shot now shows the Blu-ray version.”
Regarding the two-disc New Moon configuration, Summit is trying best to accommodate the franchise’s fans. About 75% of Twilight sales were comprised of its two-disc and Blu-ray premium versions. Typically, less than half of a title’s sales come from the relatively pricier versions.
“This is what the fans are looking for,” Nickerson said. “The true fans of the franchise have already seen New Moon in theaters — maybe two or three times. We need to give them more than just the film on DVD.”
The single-DVD rental-only version will carry a commentary track and a couple of other extras. In contrast, the two-disc DVD and Blu-ray each will be fully loaded, including a six-part behind-the-scenes documentary.
One thing is staying strictly the same with New Moon. Like Twilight, it will be ushered in through nationwide midnight release parties. Nickerson expects the same, if not more, retail participants on New Moon. At about $300 million in U.S. box office, New Moon topped Twilight’s already impressive theatrical performance by 50%.
“Last year we were dealing with somewhat of an unknown entity,” Nickerson said. “And now all the retailers have already gone through the success of Twilight. And they’ve wanted to work with us as far in advance as possible on New Moon. Even before its theatrical performance, we were already having extensive conversations with the retailers on the New Moon DVD/Blu-ray.”
However, Summit is measuring their expectations for New Moon, as a heftier box office doesn’t necessarily promise that the title will outperform Twilight on DVD/Blu-ray. Summit is hoping New Moon can at least match Twilight’s retail bite.
“We are looking at the 9.2 million in Twilight sales as our fan base, and that is how we are planning around New Moon,” Nickerson said.