Lionsgate Home Entertainment joins Mill Creek Entertainment on Apr. 2 in what is a mini-trend in the physical media arena. This would be, SteelBook exclusives at Walmart.
Sure, exclusives are nothing new. Suppliers have been cutting deals with retailers for “exclusive” releases (a bonus book, packaging, content, whatever) for years, but with the exit of Best Buy from the retail environment, coupled with the rapid increase in manufacturing on demand (MOD), it is only prudent that 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Steelbook releases not be mass-manufactured without testing the demand side with a look-see window at Walmart.
The national retailer is given a 30-day window to move product — a fixed amount is manufactured. If the title sells out great … a second bite at the apple can follow.
If, however, the title in question is a dud, then Walmart can return the leftovers, which can then be recycled into the online retail mix without additional manufacturing risks. It’s a win-win.Mill Creek Entertainment set four Walmart SteelBook exclusives for delivery on Feb. 6 — Anaconda, I Know What Your Did Last Summer, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and Hallow Man: Director’s Cut.
Lionsgate joins the party on Apr. 2 with three 4K Ultra HD SteelBook exclusives. These are: Cutthroat Island, the Red 2-Film Collection and Rambo: Last Blood.
This is a smart move. First, 4K Ultra HD production is an expensive proposition. Most boutique suppliers do limited editions — 1,500 to 5,000. Second, SteelBook packaging isn’t cheap either … the last thing you want is several thousand “left over” SteelBooks of a title languishing in inventory.
We will know how successful this “exclusive” window move is if we see additional promotions follow. A major player exits the business and suppliers adapt … smart!