Monday, December 7, 2015

20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment Fumbles Martian Launch — Retailers Get Jump On Jan. 12 DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Landing

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Weirdness abounds these days in the home entertainment market place.   

Consider this — just as one example, and there are many more, but space prohibits such a laundry list — 20th Century-Fox snaps up the rights to novice writer Andy Weir’s sci-fi sensation, The Martian, and then recruits A-list producer Simon Kinberg (X-Men: First Class, Elysium, X-Men: Days of Future Past, etc.) to develop the novel into a workable film project.   That’s what studios do — that’s not the weird part.

Kinberg in turn recruits Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods, World War Z, etc.) to handle the adaptation (script) and superstar Ridley Scott to direct — Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down … and on and on and on — and before you can say “Matt Damon,” Matt Damon is onboard as Andy Weir’s stranded astronaut Mark Watney.   

With those four bankable elements in place — Kinberg, Goddard, Scott and Damon — the studio proceeded to plow over a $100 million into the production budget of the film and easily spent another $30 million in the domestic market launching The Martian on over 3,800 screens in early October of this year. 

That’s one hell of an investment.   And it paid off, as The Martian is not only a critical success, but a box office blockbuster as well — $218.5 million in domestic ticket sales and still counting.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeySo what’s the problem?   Well here it is, Videoeta, Amazon, Best Buy (and a whole lot more online sources) are busy circulating the news (and taking orders) in the past few days for The Martian, which they say will be available as a three-SKU product offering on Jan. 12 … but there’s not a peep out of 20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment.

It’s just a little weird that the studio would invest this much money, recruit this caliber of talent and launch a property nationally — with all that PR buzz and critical acclaim — and not even take the time to break wind when it comes to announcing both stand-alone DVD and Blu-ray editions, as well as a double-disc 3D/2D Blu-ray SKU (the SRP premium for the 3D viewing option is ten buck) for the second week of January — which just happens to be timed for the Jan. 14 Oscar nomination announcement.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyIt’s weird, just plain weird, that with so much money on the table Fox isn’t making every effort possible to promote The Martian.

Just for the record, the ARR for that Jan. 12 street date works out to 102 days, about two-weeks below the industry average for theatrical releases grossing in excess of $25 million.   Perhaps this is too tight a window to get all the moving pieces — like a press announcement  — in place before retailers start taking orders (it’s a dog-eat-dog market out there, so once one goes, they all go).

Bonus materials for The Martian … well, we will have to wait for the “official” announcement (perhaps this next week) to find out what they are, but you can certainly expect the Blu-ray SKUs to be loaded with bonus goodies related to the production of the film.   

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