1. Bond DVD's to be republished from October!

    By David Winter on 2002-06-25

    As Video Businnes reports, MGM will republish all James Bond DVD's from October:

    MGM Home Entertainment this fall will rerelease seven James Bond special edition DVDs in an effort to capitalize on the growing market for the format and the theatrical release of the 20th Bond film, Die Another Day.

    The studio will issue Dr. No, GoldenEye, Goldfinger, License to Kill, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me and Tomorrow Never Dies on Oct. 22 (prebook Sept. 22), a month before 007's next theatrical adventure hits theaters on Nov. 22. The titles will be priced individually at $19.98–almost half the $34.98 price they carried when they were last available. All seven will also be in a gift set for $124.96.

    The collection is "being priced and positioned commensurate with the mass market DVD has become," said Robert Wittenberg, executive VP of sales and marketing for the studio.

    Since the installed base of DVD players will have doubled, to 40 million this fall, and the Bond catalog was put on moratorium in early 2001, "for all intents and purposes very few people have them," Wittenberg said.

    The special editions are the same versions released during the last promotion. "They were pretty special editions," crafted to appeal to collectors, Wittenberg said. Each of the titles carries one or more audio commentaries, multiple documentaries and featurettes as well as stills galleries, TV spots and theatrical trailers.

    MGM has finely honed its management of the Bond titles, pulling them off the market every few years to reinvigorate demand.

    This time it plans to issue about a third of the catalog each fall until 2004. The last time the catalog was released, it was in three collections over the course of one year.

    "We are trying to maximize the franchise and make sure retail will give [each title] its due," said Wittenberg, explaining the studio's decision to stretch out the release pattern. Each group of titles will go on moratorium when the next one becomes available.

    Best Buy will support the collection as part of a broad promotional deal with MGM under which the retailer will position itself as "the James Bond store." It's expected to merchandise the DVDs with related soundtracks, electronics and other licensed products (VB, 2-4).

    The last Bond campaign sold about 7 million units across the catalog, Wittenberg said.

    He declined to project sales for the new promotion, but industry sources estimated that with the growth of the DVD market, the studio should be able to sell 7 million units of just the first wave.

    The studio has a lot riding on the Bond franchise. It said last week that it expects to lose 46 cents per share or roughly $114 million, more than triple what analysts expected, in the second quarter because of the disappointing theatrical performance of its World War II drama Windtalkers.