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.

‘Jews’ 4K Steelbook
‘Flash Gordon’ Blu-ray 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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Merchandising: ‘1917’ Tops New Product Releases

With coronavirus sheltering orders across the United States impacting consumers’ ability to shop, stores are still selling new DVD and Blu-ray titles.

Best Buy may have closed its showrooms, but it still offers online shopping and curbside pickup for local shoppers.

Best Buy also had the only notable exclusive being touted by the big retailers among the week’s new releases: a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook combo pack of Universal Pictures’ 1917 at $32.99.

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Target and Walmart stores remain open because they sell groceries, classifying them as “essential” businesses exempt from shelter-in-place orders.

Neither were promoting exclusives among the week’s new titles, but they continued to take preorders for the March 31 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

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

Target’s edition at $34.99 comes with a gallery booklet and an exclusive bonus disc.

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

The Walmart edition features fold out packaging containing images from the film for $34.96.

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Walmart’s ‘Bad Boys’ Blu-ray triple feature

Walmart, which halted next-day delivery for online orders due to high demand, is also taking preorders on a Blu-ray containing all three “Bad Boys” movies for $29.96 due April 28.

‘Friday the 13th’ 40th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Coming From Paramount

A 40th Anniversary Blu-ray steelbook of Friday the 13th will come out June 16 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Originally hitting screens May 9, 1980, Friday the 13th spawned one of the longest-running and most successful horror franchises in film history, with 11 subsequent movies.

The horror classic follows a group of young counselors preparing for the reopening of Camp Crystal Lake, where a boy drowned years earlier.  One by one, the counselors are stalked by a mysterious and violent killer.  The film stars Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King and Kevin Bacon.

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The limited-edition Blu-ray steelbook features artwork from the original movie poster and includes the uncut, unrated version of the film, as well as access to a digital copy of the original theatrical version. It also includes previously released bonus content including commentary, interviews with cast and crew, and behind-the-scenes featurettes.

Update (4/20/20): The original street date of May 5 was changed to June 16 by Paramount.

Merchandising: Declassifying ‘Spies in Disguise’ Exclusives

Best Buy and Target offered exclusive 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray versions of the new animated movie Spies in Disguise, which hit shelves March 10 from Disney-owned 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Best Buy offered the film with Steelbook packaging for $34.99.

Best Buy’s ‘Spies in Disguise’ Steelbook

Target had a $32.99 limited edition with a pack-in “Super Spy Training Manual” booklet.

Target’s ‘Spies in Disguise’ limited edition with booklet

Another notable promotion during the week involved Walmart offering a code for exclusive behind-the-scenes content of Disney’s Frozen II with the purchase of Sparkling Ice bottled vitamin water.

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Merchandising: Best Buy Offers Steelbooks for Latest Pixar 4K Batch

With a light slate of new releases for March 3, Best Buy offered Steelbooks for several Pixar titles being released on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray by Disney.

The Pixar catalog titles making their way to 4K Ultra HD include A Bug’s Life, Wall-E, Monsters, Inc., Monsters University and Up. The Steelbook combo packs were offered at $34.99 each.

Among other titles, Walmart had a double feature with the Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Blu-ray paired with the new digital release of Jumanji: The Next Level on Vudu.

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Paramount Releasing ‘Braveheart,’ ‘Gladiator’ 4K Steelbooks

Paramount Home Entertainment will re-release Best Picture Oscar winners Braveheart and Gladiator as Steelbook 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo packs June 16.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, 1995’s Braveheart stars Mel Gibson, who also directed, as William Wallace, who rallies Scotland to fight for liberation from English rule. The 4K Steelbook includes access to a digital copy of the film and previously released commentary by Mel Gibson on both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray presentations, along with more than two hours of previously released bonus content, including interactive timelines, a making-of documentary, multiple behind-the-scenes featurettes, and more.

Director Ridley Scott’s 2000 film Gladiator celebrates its 20th anniversary. It stars Russell Crowe as a Roman general who is betrayed by a corrupt prince (Joaquin Phoenix) and comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.  The 4K Steelbook includes access to a digital copy of the film and both theatrical and extended versions of the feature on 4K Ultra HD, along with two separate commentaries.  The two Blu-ray Discs included in the set boast over four hours of previously released bonus content, including commentaries on both versions of the film, a comprehensive documentary about the making of the movie, featurettes, deleted scenes, and more.

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Update (4/20/20): The original street date of May 5 was changed to June 16 by Paramount.