Merchandising: Best Buy Brings Out ‘Inception,’ ‘Town’ Steelbooks

In a pandemic environment that limits the number of major new disc releases making their way to shelves, Best Buy continues to fall back on its tried-and-true exclusive Steelbook editions.

For Aug. 4, Best Buy offered 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack Steelbook editions of Warner’s Inception at $24.99 and The Town at $29.99.

Best Buy’s ‘The Town’ 4K Steelbook

Best Buy is also taking preorders for many upcoming titles, including Steelbook editions of Universal’s Oct. 20 4K release of the Back to the Future Trilogy at $69.99, and Warner’s Sept. 1 4K release of The Goonies at $29.99.

Best Buy’s ‘Back to the Future’ trilogy 4K Steelbook
Best Buy’s ‘The Goonies’ 4K Steelbook

Among other promotions during the week, Best Buy is holding a sale on select anime Blu-rays, and also offers select 4K Blu-ray movies at $9.99, including Lionsgate’s Anna, Ex Machina and Hacksaw Ridge.

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Merchandising: Best Buy Selling New ‘Wonder Woman’ Steelbook

Best Buy July 28 began selling a new Steelbook edition of 2017’s Wonder Woman. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment was likely planned as a promotional tie-in to its sequel, Wonder Woman 1984, which was originally slated to come out this summer but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and is now tentatively slated for October.

The new Wonder Woman Steelbook is priced at $29.99.

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Best Buy is also taking preorders for its 4K Ultra HD Steelbook collector’s set of the complete series of “Game of Thrones” at $239.99. The release date is Nov. 3.

Merchandising: ‘Spartacus’ Steelbook Available at Best Buy

Best Buy’s latest exclusive Steelbook arrived July 21 in the form of the re-release of the 1960 Stanley Kubrick-directed Spartacus. The consumer electronics retailer offered a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack in Steelbook packaging for $19.99.

The big new release of July 21, Warner’s Scoob!, didn’t have any major exclusives at the big three retailers, but did have a few tie-in promotions.

Walmart offered a DVD double feature of Scoob! with the previously released animated direct-to-video movie Scooby-Doo! and the Gourmet Ghost for $22.96.

Target offered 20% off select “Scooby-Doo!” titles.

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Lionsgate’s ‘Rob Zombie Trilogy’ Steelbook Blu-ray Coming Exclusively to Target Sept. 8

The Rob Zombie Trilogy, featuring the horror films House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects and 3 From Hell, arrives Sept. 8 on Steelbook Blu-ray from Lionsgate exclusively at Target.

Featuring all new artwork from artist Vance Kelly, filmmaker Rob Zombie’s trilogy Steelbook Blu-ray is priced at $34.99.

Baby Firefly, Otis Driftwood, Captain Spaulding, Sheriff Wydell and Rob Zombie’s other killer characters wreak havoc in the blood-soaked trilogy that made them famous. Two young couples cross paths with Otis Driftwood and the cannibalistic Fireflys while touring America’s backroads in House of 1000 Corpses. In The Devil’s Rejects, Sheriff Wydell deals with depraved, hostage-taking murderers holed up in a rundown motel in his uniquely unhinged way. Baby, Otis, and Captain Spaulding are finally put behind bars in 3 From Hell.

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The series stars Sherri Moon Zombie (HalloweenHalloween IIThe Lords of Salem), Bill Moseley (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2Repo! The Genetic Opera) and Sid Haig (Kill Bill Vol. 2Bone Tomahawk).

MVD and Arrow Video June Slate Includes 1960s Western ‘Django’

MVD Entertainment Group has announced the Arrow Video Blu-ray lineup for June 2020.

Arrow Academy’s Blu-ray of 1960’s America as Seen by a Frenchman was released June 2. French documentarian François Reichenbach spent a year and a half traveling the United States capturing some of the most famous sites and sounds. The result was a look at America with a French sensibility.

Arrow Academy will have a second release for the month June 23 with director Tomu Uchida’s 1962 film The Max Fox. The film was highlighted in the August 2007 issue of Sight & Sound as one of their “75 Hidden Gems — The Great Films Time Forgot.” This release, featuring a brand new restoration courtesy of Toei, will mark the film’s worldwide Blu-ray debut.

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Also June 23 comes the Blu-ray release of 1988’s Dream Demon via Arrow Video. A soon-to-be-wed woman starts having terrible dreams that start to blend into a frightening reality. Harley Cokeliss’ gory 1980s psychological nightmare has languished in obscurity for the past three decades, but that will soon change with this new 2K restoration approved by Cokeliss. In addition to the theatrical release, Arrow’s edition also includes the director’s cut.

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The 1966 Spaghetti Western Django arrives June 30 as a limited edition Blu-ray set that includes a fold-out poster and photo cards of images from the film. A collectible Steelbook edition also will be available.

‘Django’ Steelbook cover

Franco Nero stars as Django, a mysterious loner who arrives at a mud-drenched ghost town on the Mexico-U.S. border, ominously dragging a coffin behind him. With Django, director Sergio Corbucci upped the ante for sadism and sensationalism in Westerns, depicting machine gun massacres, mud-fighting prostitutes and savage mutilations.

A huge hit with international audiences, Django’s brand of bleak nihilism would be repeatedly emulated in a raft of unofficial sequels. The film is presented here in an exclusive new restoration with a wealth of extras including the newly restored bonus feature Texas Adios, which also stars Franco Nero, and was released as Django 2 in several territories.

Merchandising: Best Buy Unveils Catalog Steelbooks, Dad’s Day Promos

Without much in the way of theatrical films heading to DVD, Best Buy June 2 offered a slew of catalog movies in new Steelbook Blu-ray editions.

The three selections come from Universal Pictures: a 40th anniversary Flash Gordon Blu-ray Steelbook at $14.99, a 45th anniversary Jaws 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook at $24.99, and a 25th anniversary Apollo 13 4K Steelbook at $19.99.

‘Flash Gordon’ Blu-ray Steelbook
‘Jaws’ 4K Steelbook
‘Apollo 13’ 4K Steelbook

Best Buy did have an exclusive edition of one new release during the week: a $34.99 Blu-ray Steelbook of HBO’s Watchmen limited series.

‘Watchmen’ Steelbook

The “Top Deals” section for home video at Best Buy’s website touted Father’s Day sales, with a “Get Dad in the action” banner promoting a sale on action movies. The site also offered savings on select Disney-distributed movies for dad. Ford vs Ferrari made both lists.

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Walmart has the exclusive early availability of Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues & You DVD, with episodes from the interactive preschool series, offered at $9.96.

Paramount Releasing 40th Anniversary ‘Airplane!’ Blu-ray July 21

Paramount Home Entertainment July 21 will re-release the comedy Airplane! on Blu-ray as part of its Paramount Presents line to celebrate the film’s 40th anniversary. A limited-edition Steelbook Blu-ray also will be available.

Robert Hays stars as an ex-fighter pilot forced to take over the controls of an airliner when the flight crew succumbs to food poisoning.  The all-star cast also includes Julie Hagerty, Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, Leslie Nielsen, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The film spoofs airplane disaster flicks, religious zealots, television commercials and anything else the filmmakers want to take aim at.

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The new Blu-ray will include the film newly remastered from a 4K transfer supervised by writers/directors Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker. Extras include a new “Filmmaker Focus” featurette on the directors, a new Q&A with the directors recorded at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood in January 2020, an isolated music score by Elmer Bernstein, and previously released audio commentary with the directors and producer Jon Davison.

Shout! Factory Schedules August Home Release for Two Anime Films by Hayao Miyazaki

Studio Ghibli and GKIDS, with distribution by Shout! Factory, Aug. 25 are re-releasing Kiki’s Delivery Service and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, two animated films from award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki, as limited-edition Steelbook Blu-ray Disc and DVD combo packs. The collector’s sets come with hours of bonus features, including a booklet with art and statements from the creators.

Originally adapted from the 1985 novel by Eiko Kadono, Kiki’s Delivery Service is coming-of-age tale of a resourceful young witch who uses her broom to create a delivery service, only to discover she has lost her gift of flight after a moment of self-doubt. As she overcomes her problem, the time comes for her to leave home and learn a craft (according to an old witches tradition) and she embarks on her new journey with her sarcastic black cat, Jiji.

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Bonus features include feature-length storyboards, original theatrical trailers, Ursula’s painting, the locations of Kiki’s Delivery Service, an eight-page booklet with statements from the producer and director, and the featurettes “Creating Kiki’s Delivery Service,” “Producer’s Perspective: Collaborating with Miyazaki,” “Flying with Kiki & Beyond” and “Behind the Microphone.”

Based on Miyazaki’s 1982 manga of the same name, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was originally released two years later, in 1984. The Japanese animated epic, science fantasy and adventure film takes place 1,000 years after the Seven Days of Fire destroyed civilization, where warring human factions survive in a world devastated by atmospheric poisons and gigantic insects. The peaceful Valley of the Wind is nestled on the edge of the Toxic Forest and led by the courageous Princess Nausicaä, whose love of all living things leads her into terrible danger, as she fights to restore balance between humans and nature.

Bonus features include feature-length storyboards, the original theatrical trailers and TV spots, audio commentary with Hideaki Anno and Kazuyoshi Katayama, an interview with Toshio Suzuki and Hideaki Anno titled “Nausicaä and Evangelion! The Whereabouts of the Giant Warrior?,” a 12-page booklet with statements from the producer and director, and the featurettes “Behind the Microphone” and “Creating Nausicaä.”

Merchandising: ‘Birds of Prey’ Takes Flight at Retail

‘Birds of Prey’ standard-edition disc covers

Even a pandemic can’t prevent major Hollywood titles from getting their retailer exclusives. Warner’s Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn landed at retail May 12 with exclusive packaging options from all three of the major national home video retailers.

Best Buy’s ‘Birds of Prey’ Steelbook

Best Buy offered its typical Steelbook packaging for the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack of Birds of Prey, at $34.99.

The nation’s largest electronics chain, which has been primarily serving customers through online orders and curbside pickups during the pandemic, also offered a promotion allowing customers to save $5 on another Warner movie with the purchase of Birds of Prey.

Target’s ‘Birds of Prey’ Blu-ray art

Target offered the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack at $24.99 with exclusive box art touting a digital comic book. The cartoony art style likely inspired Target to include the phrase “This is a live-action movie” on its “Only at Target” sticker placed on the outside wrapping.

Walmart’s ‘Birds of Prey’ DVD art

Walmart had a couple of options for Birds of Prey. First was a single-disc DVD edition with exclusive box art for $16.96, contrasted with the regular two-DVD version available everywhere else for $17.99. Walmart didn’t offer the wide-release DVD on its shelves, but did sell it online.

The Walmart DVD includes just the “Birds of a Feather” featurette, rather than the full array of extras fans could get for just $1 more.

Also available at Walmart were Blu-ray and DVD double features of Birds of Prey with 2016’s Suicide Squad, the previous appearance of Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn.

Among other titles, Fox’s The Call of the Wild arrived on disc May 12 as well, though the disc versions of the film are nowhere to be found on Amazon. Likewise, preorders for the May 19 disc release of Fox’s Downhill are absent as well. Amazon has had longstanding issues with listing new Disney titles, and it appears some of those problems have now carried over with the Disney-owned Fox releases as well.

Interestingly, one of the biggest concerns about Call of the Wild among online commenters at sites such as Blu-ray.com is that it was being released without a slipcover.

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Merchandising: Stores Deliver ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Exclusives

After weeks of touting preorders for Disney’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, retailers finally had the discs available for consumers March 31 despite the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.

Among the big three retailers, Target and Walmart stores remain open, with adjusted hours, since they offer groceries and other essential household goods.

Best Buy stores are closed for walk-ins but are offering shipping for online orders, as well as curbside pickups for local shoppers.

Target’s $34.99 Rise of Skywalker 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack comes with a gallery booklet and an exclusive bonus DVD with the featurette “A Final Alliance,” a chronicle of the various starships used in the film.

Target’s ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Walmart offered the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack as a limited edition with fold-out artwork packaging for $34.96.

Walmart’s ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Best Buy has its customary $34.99 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook treatment for Rise of Skywalker.

Best Buy’s ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Steelbook

In addition, Best Buy has the exclusive U.S. distribution of the $249.99 nine-movie, 27-disc “Skywalker Saga” boxed set that includes a 4K disc, a Blu-ray disc and a bonus disc for each of the episodic films. Rogue One and Solo are available on 4K separately.

Best Buy’s exclusive ‘Star Wars’ The Skywalker Saga’ boxed set

Speaking of 4K, Disney also released all the films not yet available on 4K as three-disc standalone combo packs (ie episodes one through seven and Rogue One are new on 4K, while Last Jedi and Solo remain available on 4K from their earlier combo pack releases, though Disney seems set to re-release them with new packaging once existing inventory thins out). The retailers had them for $29.99 each.

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The online Disney Movie Club was offering various membership discounts such as 50% off all items in the order plus free shipping with the purchase of one at the full price ($34.99), which lowers the average to under $20 when all eight 4K combo packs are purchased together. DMC VIP members (those who fulfilled the membership requirement of buying five full-price discs previously) qualify for a 60% discount, pushing the average price to under $17.

Among other promotions, Target was offering a buy-two-get-one-free mix-and-match sale on video games.

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