When it comes to the home entertainment launch of director Sam Rami’s Oz the Great and Powerful it appears to be a case of fire, ready, aim!
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has somewhat haphazardly, it would seem, set a June 11 street date for a four-SKU release of this theatrical smash.
What makes this a curious move is threefold.
First, the announcement comes after the pre-book date of Apr. 30, which leaves no solicitation period. That is becoming a common occurrence with these mega-theatrical hits these days. The reasons for the seemingly backwards way of launching a major property into the home entertainment market place are not exactly clear (and we won’t even go there with this one).
So that’s the first curious move on the part of the studio. An announce date after pre-book. No big deal, if you have the gold — and in this case we are talking about a film that has pulled in $228.9 million in domestic ticket sales — you can set any date you please.
Which leads us to the second curious element in this mix. Why June 11? A street date on the cusp of summer, with consumers focused on the big summer theatrical hits seems a bit odd for a film of this magnitude. Frankly, we pegged this for an early September window with sales being generated all the way through Christmas.
OK, odd, but when you have the gold you can (drum roll, please) pick any damn date you want! June 11. Perfect. No argument.
The ARR, by the way, is a zippy 95 days.
The third curious element in this rush-rush-rush to market push for Oz the Great and Powerful comes in the form of the SKU configuration. The 3D and 2D versions are being packaged separately.
No big deal, but Disney has been putting out 3D/2D Blu-ray Combo Packs on a regular basis, but their new wrinkle here is that if a consumer buys the 3D edition and was expecting to also have the 2D viewing option, they will have to mail in a check for $5.99 (plus whatever shipping and handling is involved in the process) to get that Blu-ray disc (how they store it once they get it is a matter of conjecture).
When you have the gold you can do anything you please, but this smacks of a tin man’s ear when it comes to good PR and keeping your consumer base happy. We suspect that there will be few takers for this offer … and the push/pull for the 3D platform will prove to be disappointing for this ill-conceived marketing ploy.
So there you have it, the curious case of Oz the Great and Powerful.
As to the movie itself, there has to be one big sigh of relief (WHEW!) over at the mouse kingdom. When it comes to doing a remake, a rework or a re-imagining of a family (and cult) classic like The Wizard of Oz, you had better do it right and not in anyway mock or offend the fans (just ask Michael Jackson … oops, on second thought, can’t do that).
Filmmaker Sam Rami sets just the right tone. Oz the Great and Powerful is the perfect companion piece … Bravo!
As to SKU configuration, there will be a stand-alone DVD edition (with a Digital Copy option), which comes with a blooper reel and the featurette titled “Walt Disney and the Road to Oz.”
On the Blu-ray side of the ledger, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has a stand-alone Blu-ray SKU (with Digital Copy) — the SRP is $39.99 — which includes the same bonus features as the DVD edition, plus five additional featurettes: “My Journey in Oz by James Franco,” “Mr. Elfman's Musical Concoctions,” “China Girl and the Suspension of Disbelief,” “Before Your Very Eyes: From Kansas to Oz and “Mila's Metamorphosis.”
There are also the aforementioned Blu-ray 3D SKU (with Digital Copy) — the SRP is $44.99 — but there are no bonus features listed (we believe that to possibly be an oversight, and that all of the aforementioned Blu-ray bonus features are include here … but then we could be wrong) and a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (with Digital Copy) — the SRP is also $44.99.
Four buying options in all, which seems like one too many, especially with the $5.99 add on deal. It makes for something of a marketing and PR mess … and it would seem that such a plan could only piss consumers off in the long run.
But then what do I know about anything to do with the marketing of an Oz film in the home entertainment arena!
To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report