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‘Avatar’ Release Sparks Home Video Sales, CE Promo Opportunities

NEW YORK — The Earth Day home
video debut of the blockbuster Sci-fi hit
“Avatar” proved to be a consumer electronics
promos bonanza, even though the
film that was famous for its stunning 3D
production was released initially only as
a 2D stand-alone feature.

In the first four days of the home video
release, “Avatar” sold 6.7 million DVD
and Blu-ray Disc units, for sales revenue
exceeding $2.7 billion globally.

The first-day “Avatar” Blu-ray sales total
(not including rentals or on-demand
buys) was pegged at 1.5 million units,
breaking the previous 600,000-unit oneday
record set by Warner Bros.’ “The
Dark Knight.”

However, market conditions continue to
hamper the home entertainment industry,
and the “Avatar” totals did not blemish oneday
release records back in the peak years
for DVD, when combined Day One DVD
and VHS releases for “Finding Nemo,” for
example, reached 8 million units.

As for the eventual 3D release of “Avatar,”
which is expected early next year,
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
wasn’t saying.

The studio helped stoke the fires
a week before the release by bringing
the film’s producer Jon Landau to New
York to meet with home entertainment

Landau said he and partner James
Cameron, the film’s creator and director,
will never again shoot a film only
in 2D and that he
welcomes filmmakers
revisiting 2D
classic films by rereleasing
them as
converted 3D versions.

But the lack of a
3D disc didn’t stop
the cross-promotional
hype with the
CE community.

Panasonic played up its promotional
coup in gaining exclusive rights to offer a
free copy of the disc with the purchase of
one of its Blu-ray Disc players or Blu-ray
home-theater systems.

Panasonic had previously partnered
with the studio and Lightstorm Entertainment
on the global promotion of “Avatar,”
including the use of Pansonic’s latest A/V
technology products.

Panasonic also supported the bigscreen
release of the film by launching a
global advertising campaign in December
2009 tied to a number of Panasonic A/
V products, including Panasonic’s Full-
HD 3D Home Theater Systems that debuted
in March.

Panasonic’s promotion
offered purchasers
of its Blu-ray
Disc products a $25
rebate on the purchase
of a Panasonic
Blu-ray Disc player
or home entertainment
system and a
copy of the blockbuster
film on either
disc format.

Eligible models in
the rebate promotion
include the following: DMP-BD45,
DMP-BD65, DMP-BD85, DMP-B100,
DMP-B500, SC-BT230, SC-BT330 and
the SC-BT730.

An official rebate form is included inside
“Avatar” Blu-ray or DVD discs.

Internet video platform and service
provider Vudu also got in on the
“Avatar” act, offering the 2D high-definition
streaming version of the movie for
purchase through its service, along with
extra content not available on the Blu-ray

Vudu enjoyed a 28-day advance release
window on the digital delivery of the film
over rival streaming-video provider Netflix, the company said. Vudu’s digital release
of the film was day and date with
home-video disc releases.

The extras content, which is offered
in standard definition at no extra charge,
includes an exclusive behind-the-scenes
look at the equipment James Cameron
invented to shoot “Avatar.”

Vudu will make “Avatar” available for
purchase in its HD and HDX high-definition
formats for $25 or in standard definition for $20.

Vudu users who purchase the film are
able to play it back at any time in the future
from the Vudu servers in the cloud.

On the retail side, both Best Buy and Amazon
tapped into the “Avatar” buzz as well.

Best Buy staged a midnight release
party, offering the first discs up for sale
to eager fans in more than 200 locations
at 12:01 a.m. April 22.

Amazon, meanwhile, offered the Bluray/
DVD combo pack “Avatar” for
$19.99, reduced $20 from the $39.99 suggested
retail, in the days both before and
after the disc’s release.