Merchandising: ‘Onward’ to a Slew of Exclusives

Target and Best Buy offered a slew of exclusives for several of the new titles hitting shelves May 19, particularly for Disney’s Onward and Warner’s Justice League Dark: Apokolips War.

For Onward, the latest Pixar release, Target offered a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a gallery booklet and slipcover for $34.99. Best Buy had a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook edition for the same price.

Best Buy’s ‘Onward’ Steelbook

Onward arrived at retail without much fanfare, as Disney did little to promote the disc version after the studio’s prominent announcement the Pixar fantasy would be available on the Disney+ streaming service in early April. Stores then offered the DVD, Blu-ray and 4K editions without the so-called first-week discount, typically $2 to $5 off new releases. That is, the stores that bothered to actually put them on shelves. A clerk at a Target in Tustin, Calif., found the box of the store’s entire inventory hidden in the stockroom after being prompted to search for them by customers wondering why the shelf spaces allocated for them were empty despite other new releases having been put out, and the Target website indicating all versions were in stock at that store.

Further, the lack of a slipcover for the regular 4K and Blu-ray editions motivated several Pixar collectors to take to message boards to complain that their absence, in addition to the lack of early discount, would lead them to forgo buying the title until it goes on sale for the holidays. (Slipcovers, often sought by collectors, are typically only included with new discs in their early shipments to stores.)

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Moreover, Onward was also apparently not for sale through except via third-party sellers, and even then finding the disc versions wasn’t particularly easy to do through Amazon’s search function.

Onward’s lack of presence on Amazon is similar to another Disney-owned title, Fox’s The Call of the Wild, which didn’t have a disc listing at the online retailer until several days after its May 12 street date. This may relate to longstanding issues Amazon often has with studios such as Disney over distribution agreements for new titles, leading to Amazon not to take preorders for such titles.

Similarly, the newly released disc of Disney-owned Fox’s Downhill was almost nowhere to be found not just on Amazon (where it was offered by marketplace sellers, essentially Amazon’s version of eBay), but any physical store shelves, being relegated to the online stores of the major retailers.

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For Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, Target offered a Steelbook edition of the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack for $19.99, while Best Buy offered a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray gift set that included a figurine of the Teen Titans’ Raven character for $29.99.

Best Buy’s ‘Justice League Dark: Apokolips War’ with figurine

Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog was offered as a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook by Best Buy for $32.99.


Best Buy’s ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Steelbook

Best Buy also offered Universal’s new The Blues Brothers 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release as a Steelbook edition for $19.99.

Best Buy’s ‘Blues Brothers’ 4K Steelbook

Another Best Buy promotion lets customers buy Warner’s The Way Back Blu-ray at $19.99 and get $5 off another Warner Blu-ray.

Finally, Best Buy is already taking preorders for Warner’s Scoob!, which was released through digital channels May 15. The digital version is available now for $24.99, and Best Buy is offering the DVD at $17.99, Blu-ray at $19.99 and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray at $27.99, though no street date for the discs has been announced.

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