The cat is out the bag as to the street date for the biggest grossing film of all time … and it appears to be the result of a breakdown in communication among the various operating groups within the Walt Disney Studios organization.
The release date will be Apr. 5 for director J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.
The ARR works out to 109 days and domestic ticket sales currently stand at an out-of-this-world $926 million.
Planned for release on that first street-date Tuesday in April will be a stand-alone DVD edition and a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack. As of this time, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has not announced any plans for supporting the newly launched 4K Ultra HD format, but this would be a very obvious candidate to get that ball rolling.
Here’s how the home entertainment group was blindsided by their online cousins at the Disney Store. If you go to disneystore.com and after the site loads, just click on “products” and then click on “movies” … and voila! Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is available to pre-order with a ship date of Apr. 5.
Since such news travels at the speed of light, the Stars Wars community was all over that offer in a matter of milliseconds. And since the world of home entertainment is an extremely competitive one, it was only a matter of moments before other online retailers quickly jumped into the pre-order frenzy.
Target, for example, began immediately taking pre-orders for an Apr. 5 ship date with an offer of “exclusive packaging.”
All of this took place before the PR machine over at Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment could generate an official announcement.
That official announcement was made at noon eastern time (9:00AM on the west coast) on Thursday, March 3, which confirmed both the SKU configuration and the street date of Apr. 5.
This announcement was timed to allow Disney CEO Bob Iger the opportunity to reveal the home entertainment release date to the company’s stockholders at the annual meeting in Chicago — you have to wonder if Mr. Iger’s office will be having a little chat with those at the Disney Store for stealing a bit of his thunder.
Bonus features include a documentary titled Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey, seven production featurettes — “The Story Awakens: The Table Read,” “Building BB-8,” “Crafting Creatures,” “Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight,” “John Williams: The Seventh Symphony,” “ILM: The Visual Magic of The Force” and “Force For Change” — plus deleted scenes.