Merchandising: There Can Be Only One ‘Highlander’ Exclusive

Despite the arrival of several notable new releases Dec. 13, retailer exclusives were pretty scarce. The most prominent came at Best Buy, which offered Lionsgate’s new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack of the 1986 fantasy actioner Highlander in Steelbook packaging for $21.99.

Other than that, several Target and Walmart stores still seem to be either hard-pressed or indifferent to getting the new titles stocked on shelves not just on release day, but even a day or two after — a continued complication of still being short-staffed after the pandemic. For fans looking to pick up a new release on street date, picking a nearby store and hoping the shelves are restocked on time is a bit like playing roulette at this point. As a result, any shoppers still interested in packaged media will increasingly turn to buying the discs online, which further disincentivizes brick-and-mortar inventories.

Dec. 14 new-release display at a Target in Santa Ana, Calif., showing ‘House of the Dragon’ discs available a week early.

Just to add to the raised eyebrows surrounding the seeming randomness of the new-release shelves these days, several Targets and Walmarts in Southern California had shelves fully stocked with HBO’s House of the Dragon: Season 1 more than a week before its Dec. 20 street date. A Walmart in Long Beach not only had copies of Dragon available on Monday, Dec. 12, but also the Dec. 13 titles a day early. And despite Target’s and Walmart’s websites still listing Dragon as a Dec. 20 preorder, a scan of a copy at a Target cash register wasn’t flagging the title as being too early to sell.

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