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A Spellbinding Spectacle

10 Aug, 2012 By: Ashley Ratcliff

‘Wizard’s Collection’ designed for ‘Harry Potter’ diehards

It comprises 31 discs with more than 37 hours of bonus material (10 hours of footage new to disc), weighs 19 pounds and costs $499.99. To say that Warner Home Video is making a statement with its Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection would be an understatement.

“It’s the largest film franchise in the history of the business,” said Jeff Baker, Warner Home Video’s EVP and GM of theatrical catalog. “We really felt that this particular franchise warranted a significant statement. I like to call it an homage to the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise.”

The ultimate collector’s set streets Sept. 7 and has received preorders in the “tens of thousands,” according to Baker. The studio will release 63,000 copies of the collection worldwide, with approximately 30,000 to 35,000 sets available in the U.S. market.

Warner expects the limited-edition set will sell out.

“It was very difficult [to arrive at that number] because we didn’t have a comp to this,” Baker said. “We’ve never, as a company — and I don’t think any other studio has — released something quite like this. So there really was no precedent for what the demand might be.”

“In order to make an event out of it and to make it special for people to want to step up and buy it and commit to the type of investment that was required, we felt that it didn’t make sense just to make some ungodly number and sell it forever,” he added. “We wanted to make it a special one-time purchase opportunity.”

The product will be available at select retailers, though the sheer size of the set makes it difficult to stock in large quantities, Baker noted.

Hope isn’t completely lost for fans who aren’t able to get their hands on the Wizard’s Collection. Warner plans to release a less robust, more cost-effective version of the boxed set once the stock on the exclusive collection is depleted, and there are single DVDs and Blu-ray Discs already available for each movie in the series.

Housed in the behemoth box are Blu-rays, DVDs and UltraViolet digital copies of all eight films: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 (2010) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 (2011).

The first two films featured in the set include theatrical and extended versions, while the final two are available in 2D and 3D. Five hours of never-before-seen content also are integrated in the Wizard’s Collection, such as featurettes about the stunts in the movies, “A Conversation With JK Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe” and more.

“Over the years, we have specifically aggregated and accumulated some footage that we’ve never released that’s part of the individual film releases, knowing that our plan and intention was to ultimately release it one day in a huge comprehensive box,” Baker said.

Designed with hidden compartments, drawers and souvenirs — such as artwork, a Hogwarts map, catalogs of props and posters, a locket and more — the set makes for a “really special, unique keepsake,” he added.

Baker foresees “Potter” fans holding the collection as an investment piece and recognizes that the product’s price is hefty.

“There is a high-end market for a franchise like this,” he said. “I can’t say that every film would elicit that kind of response, where people are paying hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars. That’s still a lot of money to spend in a marketplace where you can buy a DVD at Walmart for $5.”

“Clearly it’s for somebody who likes the whole notion of the complete repository of everything that ever existed on ‘Harry Potter’ — that, frankly, is ever going to be released on ‘Harry Potter,’ as far as I’m concerned,” Baker continued. “This is the definitive collection with everything in it. This is about as good as it’s going to get.”

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