‘Mandalorian’ Tops Parrot Analytics’ TV Demand Charts for 3rd Week

The Disney+ “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian” remained at No. 1 on not only Parrot Analytics’ digital exclusives rankings the week ended Dec. 7, but also the data firm’s overall list of TV series from any platform, including broadcast and cable.

A “digital exclusive” is Parrot’s term for a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or Disney+.

For the week, “The Mandalorian” registered 118.9 million average daily Demand Expressions, the proprietary metric used by Parrot Analytics to measure global demand for TV content. That was down 10% in expressions compared with the previous week.

DC Universe’s “Titans” stayed at No. 2 on the digital exclusives chart, with expressions down 13% to 74.7 million. The finale of the second season was released Nov. 29.

Netflix’s “Stranger Things” remained No. 3, registering 73.8 million expressions, down 3.4% from the previous week.

Netflix’s “The Crown” remained at No. 4 on the exclusives chart, with expressions down 21.2% to 37.5 million.

Another Netflix series, “Lucifer,” stayed at No. 5, its expressions down 7.7% to 29.1 million.

Amazon Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” jumped up from No. 57 to No. 6, with expressions up 126.4% to 27.7 million. The third season of the Award-winning series was released Dec. 6.

DC Universe’s animated “Harley Quinn” placed at No. 9 after premiering Nov. 29, up from No. 47. Expressions rose 97.9% to 27.4 million.

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The Demand Expressions metric draws from a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital exclusive original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Angel Has Fallen

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Lionsgate;
Action;
Box Office $69.03 million;
$29.95 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $42.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for violence and language throughout.
Stars Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lance Reddick, Tim Blake Nelson, Nick Nolte, Danny Huston.

The unassuming “Fallen” action franchise becomes a trilogy in Angel Has Fallen, which continues the adventures of Gerard Butler as Mike Banning, the secret service agent who thwarts a massive conspiracy against the American presidency every few years.

After stopping terrorist takeovers of the White House in 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen, and an attack on world leaders in London in 2016’s London Has Fallen, Banning finds himself framed for an assassination attempt that leaves President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) in a coma and the vice president (Tim Blake Nelson) threatening war with Russia.

Taking on a bit of the flavor of The Fugitive, the plot has Banning under pursuit by a diligent FBI agent (Jada Pinkett Smith), so he goes off the grid and enlists the help of his estranged father, a kooky doomsday prepper living in a rustic cabin in the backwoods of West Virginia. Nick Nolte steals the movie as Mike’s dad, committing full tilt to the role of the crazy-eyed former soldier with no trust of government or technology (Nolte in the bonus materials discusses growing his beard out for a full year to prepare for the part).

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The film offers some decent action sequences in service of a mystery plot that is easy to predict a mile away, despite the film’s efforts to obfuscate the inevitable with the early reveal of an obvious middle-man. The screenplay also sidesteps the 25th Amendment to further its plot mechanics, which could prove to be a minor annoyance to viewers to politically savvy viewers. But there’s really only so much brainpower a movie like this can be expected to deploy.

The Blu-ray offers six behind-the-scenes featurettes that run about 70 total minutes. These cover pretty much all the aspects of the production, from the casting to the stunts to re-creating Washington, D.C., and rural Virginia in England and Bulgaria.

Director Ric Roman Waugh also offers an eight-and-a-half-minute mini-commentary for three scenes in the film, including the drone attack on Trumbull and a lengthy truck chase, plus a humorous post-credits scene.

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‘Star Wars,’ Comic Books and the Legacy of Fox

One of the overriding concerns of the aftermath of the Walt Disney Co.’s purchase of 20th Century Fox studios has been how the House of Mouse would treat its newfound assets and the legacy of the studio in general.

The immediate assumption was that the studio was bolstering its content roster for the Disney+ streaming service, which we have seen come to pass with the myriad Fox catalog titles available on the service, such as Home Alone, The Sound of Music and 30 seasons of “The Simpsons.”

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Other questions centered on how Disney would treat established Fox franchises such as “Aliens” or “Die Hard,” and the latest reports have Disney interested in a new “Planet of the Apes” sequel. The fate of Fox’s comic book properties is a bit more cut and dry, with the “X-Men” and “Fantastic Four” licenses simply being reabsorbed back into Disney’s Marvel subsidiary, which many fans wanted anyway (and while we’re on the subject, can I pitch a Buffy the Vampire Slayer vs. Blade crossover?).

On the downside, though, are reports that Disney was cutting back authorizations for repertory theaters to show prints of Fox catalog movies — these are the special screenings you might find at film festivals or smaller theaters that show classic movies one night a week.

And on Disney+, old Fox movies were being lumped in with Disney fare in “Disney Through the Decades” categories.

These tend to bely the assumption that Disney would be keeping Fox as a separate theatrical unit, perhaps to distribute edgier, ‘R’-rated content.

The latest example involves, of all things, a reprint of a classic comic book. In the run up to the theatrical release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Disney subsidiary Marvel Comics Dec. 4 released reprints of several “Star Wars” comic book issues, including “Star Wars” No. 1 from 1977.

Marvel Comics’ original “Star Wars #1” from 1977 on the left, the 2019 reprint on the right

While reprints such as these are rather commonplace in the comic book industry, usually they involve the original pages of art and dialogue being repurposed with modern advertisements, and other changes such as new cover artwork.

The reprint of the original issue of “Star Wars,” however, was what is called a “facsimile edition,” which generally means the original issue is reprinted in its entirety, with the original ads and all. The only updates are usually the pricing, UPC code and the legal text with the copyrights and statements of ownership.

Marvel had also published the original run of “Star Wars” comics in the 1970s and 1980s, so a facsimile edition of the first issue makes sense for them to do. (The first issue, being the first part of an adaptation of the first movie, has been reprinted several times over the years in trade paperback collections by both Marvel and Dark Horse Comics, which had the “Star Wars” license throughout the 1990s and early 2000s).

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Interestingly, this facsimile edition is missing two prominent instances that identified the original “Star Wars” film as a 20th Century Fox release. The first is on the cover, where the comic is described as “Marvel’s Epic Official Adaptation of The Monumental 20th Century Fox Movie! — A Film by George Lucas.” The second is on the first page of the comic, under the masthead as part of the introduction of the story, which identified the film as “A 20th Century-Fox Release” (using the hyphen from the studio’s old branding).

The introduction to “Star Wars #1” from 2015/2019 reprint on top without the 20th Century-Fox credit, compared to the original version below.

The facsimile edition reads “Marvel’s Epic Official Adaptation of — A Film by George Lucas” on the cover. And the first page instead has prominent Disney and Lucasfilm logos stamped at the bottom, with a blank space where the mention of 20th Century-Fox used to be.

While it’s not uncommon for comic book companies when reprinting material obtained from other companies to remove or replace the old company’s logos (for example, Dark Horse reprints of this issue would remove the Marvel logo), reprints of “Star Wars” No. 1 prior to Disney owning Lucasfilm left the Fox credit intact.

It turns out that Disney and Marvel (which Disney bought in 2009) first removed the Fox credit when the original 1970s and 1980s Marvel “Star Wars” comics were reprinted as hardcover omnibus editions in 2015, and that this new facsimile is based off of that reprinting, from before Disney’s acquisition of Fox (and not wanting to publicize what was then a rival studio). Rather than restore the text in the facsimile edition, Marvel used the altered versions they already had ready to go.

1977 version on top, 2015/2019 version below

The idea of leaving off the 20th Century Fox credit from the “Star Wars” movie now seems especially bizarre given how Disney+ restored the 20th Century Fox logo to the beginning of the first six “Star Wars” movies — after removing them from the digital releases of the films after it bought Lucasfilm in 2012 (with the exception of the original film, which maintained the Fox logo since Fox had distribution rights to the film in perpetuity).

The ‘Bulletins’ page of the “Star Wars #1” facsimile showing the original unaltered cover art.

But alas, all traces of Fox’s connection to that first comic book weren’t removed from the artwork entirely. The Marvel Bullpen Bulletins page near the back of the issue, essentially a “Notes from the Publisher/Letters to the Editor” type of page, has a miniature picture of the cover, and this version wasn’t altered in the facsimile edition, so at least Fox’s legacy survives there.

 

 

‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ Emerges Atop 2019 Black Friday Sales Derby

The Black Friday post-Thanksgiving sales rush saw Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Far From Home in its ninth week on disc return to No. 1 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended Nov. 30.

The superhero movie was originally released on disc Oct. 1 and hasn’t been the top title since its debut week.

No. 2 on the overall disc sales chart and No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart was Warner’s Aquaman, selling 85% as many copies as the top title in its 36th week on disc. Aquaman is the year’s second-best selling title, according to VideoScan.

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No. 3 overall (No. 10 on the Blu-ray chart) was Warner’s Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, in its 17th week of availability.

The No. 4 overall seller and No. 2 Blu-ray was Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.

Warner’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, in its 38th week, was No. 5 overall and No. 14 on the Blu-ray chart.

The No. 4 Blu-ray, and No. 13 overall in its 16th week, was the year’s top-selling title, Disney’s Avengers: Endgame.

The No. 4 Blu-ray was Warner’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which was No. 17 overall in its 14th week.

The week’s top newcomer, and the only new release to crack the top 50 as a result of deep-discount sales pushing older titles back up the charts, was Lionsgate’s Angel Has Fallen, which was No. 15 overall and No. 11 on the Blu-ray chart.

Angel Has Fallen is the third film in the “Fallen” trilogy featuring Gerard Butler as a U.S. Secret Service agent who fights off terrorists threats against the American presidency — following 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen and 2016’s London Has Fallen. The actioner earned $69 million at the domestic box office.

Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 60% of first-week Angel Has Fallen sales, with 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray comprising 12% of its total sales.

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Angel Has Fallen was the top title on the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Dec. 1, pushing Paramount’s Dora and the Lost City of Gold to No. 2.

Universal’s Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw slid to No. 3, with Universal’s Good Boys at No. 4 and Disney’s The Lion King remake at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 11-30-19
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 12-1-19
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 11-30-19
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 11-30-19

Kino Lorber Releasing ‘Get Smart’ Offshoot Movie ‘The Nude Bomb’ on Blu-ray Dec. 10

Kino Lorber Studio Classics will release a special-edition Blu-ray of the 1980 comedy The Nude Bomb Dec. 10.

Based on the 1965-70 TV series “Get Smart,” the film stars Don Adams as Maxwell Smart (Agent 86) in a spoof of Hollywood spy movies, as he investigates a villain who is threatening to deploy a bomb capable of destroying all fabric in the world, rendering everyone naked.

Directed by Clive Donner, the film’s cast includes Sylvia Kristel, Rhonda Fleming, Dana Elcar, Pamela Hensley, Norman Lloyd, Andrea Howard and Vittorio Gassman.

In addition, Robert Karvelas reprises his role as Larrabee from the TV series, the only other returning cast member besides Adams.

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The dual-layered BD50 disc includes audio commentaries by “Sledge Hammer!” creator Alan Spencer and film historian/critic Peter Tonguette; deleted, extended and alternate scenes; textless opening and closing credits; image galleries of domestic and international lobby cards and posters; promotional materials and costumes; behind-the-scenes photos; three radio spots; two TV spots, the original theatrical trailer; and a special “Trailers From Hell” featuring Alan Spencer.

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Animated ‘Addams Family’ Due Digitally Dec. 24, on Disc Jan. 21

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will release MGM’s animated adaptation of The Addams Family through digital retailers Dec. 24, and on Blu-ray, DVD and on demand Jan. 21.

Based on the kooky comic strip characters created by Charles Addams, The Addams Family puts the eccentric and unconventional family in the spotlight as they move to a bland suburb, where Wednesday Addams’ friendship with the daughter of a local reality show host causes tension between the families.

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The voice cast includes Oscar Isaac as Gomez, Charlize Theron as Morticia, Chloë Grace Moretz as Wednesday, Finn Wolfhard as Pugsley, Nick Kroll as Uncle Fester, Snoop Dogg as It, Bette Midler as Grandma and Allison Janney as Margaux Needler.

The film has earned $96.4 million at the domestic box office.

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Home video extras include deleted and extended scenes; a Christina Aguilera “Haunted Heart” lyric video; a “My Family” lyric video featuring Migos, Karol G, Rock Mafia and Snoop Dogg; an “Addams Family Throwback” featurette; a “Welcome to the Family” making-of featurette with character profiles; a “Life of a Scene” featurette that follows the filmmakers bringing a scene to life from storyboards to layouts to animation; and “Charades With Thing,” a look at the stars of the film trying to guess clues in a game of Charades with Thing, who is just a hand.

Disney Releasing ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’ Digitally Dec. 31, on Disc Jan. 14

Disney will release the fantasy sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil through digital retailers Dec. 31, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Jan. 14.

The sequel to 2014’s Maleficent, a live-action reimagining of the classic Sleeping Beauty, stars Angelina Jolie as Maleficent and Elle Fanning as her goddaughter, Princess Aurora.

Directed by Joachim Rønning, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil finds the relationship between Maleficent and Aurora challenged by a new alliance forged on the eve of the Aurora’s wedding to Prince Philip.

The cast also includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sam Riley, Ed Skrein, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville and Michelle Pfeiffer.

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The film earned $111.6 million at the domestic box office and $480.6 million worldwide.

Blu-ray and digital bonus materials include two extended scenes; outtakes; the Bebe Rexha music video of “You Can’t Stop the Girl”; a Maleficent: Mistress of Evil VFX reel; and the featurettes “Origins of the Fey,” in which Jolie discusses Maleficent’s lore, her newly discovered origins and the diversity of the cast who portray the Fey; “Aurora’s Wedding,” in which Fanning gushes over Aurora’s fairytale wedding, and special guests give their best to the bride and groom; “If You Had Wings,” a glimpse of the elaborate visual effects that allow the Fey to take to the skies.

The digital version at select retailers will include an exclusive “Lickspittle” featurette, in which fantasy-film veteran Warwick Davis considers how every aspect of the film’s design inspired his tragic character.

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‘Angel Has Fallen’ Ascends to Top of Redbox Charts

Lionsgate’s Angel Has Fallen debuted at No. 1 on Redbox’s kiosk disc rental and On Demand charts the week ended Dec. 1.

The Redbox disc rental chart tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red kiosks. The Redbox On Demand chart tracks digital transactions, including both electronic sellthrough and streaming rentals.

Angel Has Fallen is the third film in the “Fallen” trilogy featuring Gerard Butler as a U.S. Secret Service agent who fights off terrorists threats against the American presidency — following 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen and 2016’s London Has Fallen. The actioner earned $69 million at the domestic box office.

Paramount’s Dora and the Lost City of Gold slid to No. 2 on the disc rental chart and No. 4 on the On Demand chart.

Universal Pictures’ Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw slipped to No. 3 on the disc chart but rose to No. 2 on the digital chart.

The previous week’s top digital title, Universal’s Good Boys, dropped to No. 3 on the On Demand chart and No. 4 on the disc rental chart.

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The No. 5 rental was Disney’s photorealistic remake of The Lion King.

The No. 5 On Demand title was Lionsgate’s The Peanut Butter Falcon.

Warner’s The Kitchen was No. 6 on both charts.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended Dec. 1:

  1. Angel Has Fallen — Lionsgate
  2. Dora and the Lost City of Gold — Paramount
  3. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw — Universal
  4. Good Boys — Universal
  5. The Lion King — Disney
  6. The Kitchen — Warner
  7. The Angry Birds Movie 2 — Sony Pictures
  8. Toy Story 4 — Disney
  9. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark — Lionsgate
  10. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged — Lionsgate

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended Dec. 1:

  1. Angel Has Fallen — Lionsgate
  2. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw — Universal
  3. Good Boys — Universal
  4. Dora and the Lost City of Gold — Paramount
  5. The Peanut Butter Falcon — Lionsgate
  6. The Kitchen — Warner
  7. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark — Lionsgate
  8. Don’t Let Go — Universal
  9. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged — Lionsgate
  10. Men in Black: International — Sony Pictures

 

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‘Mandalorian’ Tops Parrot Analytics’ Global In-Demand Charts

After just three weeks since its Nov. 12 debut on the new Disney+ subscription streaming service, the live-action “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian” is the most in-demand series in the world, according to data tracking firm Parrot Analytics.

The show has already been the top series in the United States for the past two weeks according to Parrot’s proprietary “demand expressions” metric, toppling a 21-week run by Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”

Parrot Analytics’ measurement of demand for television shows includes social media engagement, video streaming and peer-to-peer protocols, photo sharing, blogging, and research platforms.

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For the week ended Dec. 1, “The Mandalorian” was 31.9 times more in-demand than the average title on a global basis. In comparison, Netflix’s “The Crown,” which just launched its third season, achieved 15 times the average, “Stranger Things,” which hasn’t had a new episode since July, registered a 18.9 multiplier. Among network and cable series, the CW’s “The Flash” was at 21.6 times, and HBO’s “Game of Thrones” managed 28.3 times.

“The Mandalorian” is also in the running for the Most In-Demand Series Debut in the World at the upcoming Global TV Demand Awards. Other contenders in this awards category include Amazon Prime Video’s “The Boys,” Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy,” Apple TV+’s “See” and the HBO miniseries Chernobyl.

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Taking place Jan. 21 at the NATPE: Miami conference, Parrot Analytics’ Global TV Demand Awards honors the most in-demand shows of 2019. In addition to the Most In-Demand Series Debut category, other categories include: Most In-Demand TV Show in the World, Most In-Demand Digital Original in the World, Most In-Demand Drama Series in the World, Most In-Demand Comedy Series in the World, Most In-Demand Documentary Series in the World, Most In-Demand Variety Series in the World, Most In-Demand Reality Series in the World, Most In-Demand Superhero Series in the World, Most In-Demand Export From Latin America, Most In-Demand Export From Asia, and Most In-Demand Export From Europe.

The winners of the 2nd Annual Global TV Demand Awards will be determined based on demand data from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2019.

 

Merchandising: Mixed Reviews for Best Buy’s ‘Infinity Saga’ Set

Best Buy Nov. 15 released its exclusive The Infinity Saga collection of the first 23 Marvel Cinematic Universe films, from Iron Man to Avengers: Endgame. The pricey set included the films in both Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, plus digital codes for each, in collectible display packaging and an exclusive bonus disc with never-before-seen deleted scenes from several of the Marvel films.

Limited to about 4,000 units available at $549.99 each, the collector’s set quickly sold out, with copies showing up on secondary markets such as eBay commanding asking prices well above $1,000. Some online reviews of the set, however, indicated poor quality control both in the assembly of the set and the shipping of it, with reports of damaged boxes and missing movies. The discs themselves come in paper sleeves, with some reviewers reporting glue from the packaging seeping onto the discs.

It should also be noted that the set does not include the 3D versions of any movies that had been released on disc in 3D, and extra bonus discs from the earlier movies also were not included.

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Dec. 3 Best Buy had a piece of another massive collector’s set, that being Fox’s The Simpsons: The Complete Seasons 1-20 Limited Edition. The 79-DVD set (no Blu-ray, even though some of the seasons were released in the HD format) was reportedly limited to a run of just 1,000 units, with copies available through Best Buy, Amazon and Walmart. Each retailer’s website had the boxed set listed for a $499.99 sale price the day prior to its official street date.

The 19th season, which aired in 2007 and 2008, also arrived on DVD for the first time Dec. 3, completing the run of the first 20 seasons. The show is currently in its 31st. Fox in 2015 announced it wasn’t releasing any more “Simpsons” DVDs, at a point when it had released discs of just seasons one through 17 and season 20. Season 18 was released on DVD in 2017 following fan demand for more discs.

Based on the producers’ statements in 2015, and rumors swirling that Disney may end the series (which it purchased as part of its acquisition of the 20th Century Fox studio and catalog) after 32 or 33 seasons, the next DVD or Blu-ray release of the series could possibly be a complete-series set a few years from now, if such a disc release is even contemplated at all. The first 30 seasons of the series are available for streaming on the new Disney+ service.

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The biggest disc release of Dec. 3, however, was HBO’s “Game of Thrones” eighth-season and complete-series releases.

For exclusives on the eighth season set, however, HBO committed one of the biggest pet peeves among collectors — splitting exclusive featurettes among different retailers — as opposed to offering a variety of packaging options or pack-on collectibles, with any bonus content consolidated with one retailer so fans who just care about having all the available content aren’t tempted to buy the same release twice just for a few extra minutes of bonus material that isn’t offered anywhere else.

Best Buy “Game of Thrones” season eight exclusive sigil box art

For Game of Thrones: The Complete Eighth Season, Target offered the Blu-ray at $39.99 with an add-on “How the Storm Was Born” featurette, taking a look at the making of the penultimate episode and the razing of King’s Landing.

The featurette was included on a separate disc packed onto the standard season eight case.

Walmart’s exclusive bonus disc with the Blu-ray offered the featurette “From Renderings to Reality: The Visual Effects of Season 8.” The chain had it at $37.96 with the same packaging as Target, a separate thin Blu-ray case packed with the regular season eight Blu-ray, but availability was spotty from store-to-store, with some locations not even bothering to put any of the week’s new titles on shelves even into the evening of Dec. 3.

Interestingly, the VFX featurettes for the first seven seasons are included on the bonus disc with the Game of Thrones: The Complete Series Blu-ray. So fans who buy the complete series and want that final VFX featurette will have to buy a second copy of season eight separately.

Best Buy offered the season-eight Blu-ray with exclusive three-eyed-raven sigil box art for $44.99.