Large Chains Breakign Street Date??

Discussion in 'DVD' started by ZackR, Sep 21, 2003.

  1. ZackR

    ZackR Supporting Actor

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    Hi All,

    Just curious about something. I have read several threads here where people have passively mentioned small mom and pop stores that break street dates. Well, has anyone experienced this with any of the big boys? I would not expect a big retailer to do that, yet both of the "Super Centers" in my town do just that!! It is never on big new rleases, but always on catalog titles. For example, I bought Sleeping With The Enemy over a month ago. Right now, both of these stores have Leap of Faith, IQ, Casper and Babe on the shelves (and have had them for several days). It just started happening about 3 months ago. Any thoughts on this? Has anyone else experienced this? I am just curious really.

    Zack
     
  2. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Leap of Faith and IQ had release dates of 9/9...two weeks ago tomorrow. Those aren't street date breaks to sell them today.

    Sleeping With The Enemy had a release date of 9/2; if you bought it more than 3 weeks ago then sure, it was a street date break.

    Babe: SE and Casper being sold now consititute breaks.


    Studios care just as much about street dates of these catalog titles as they do the big new hits. The chains also care, even if it doesn't seem like it. But what happens is this:

    There are two ways to get items to stores...the fast way (overnight delivery "drop shipment") and the slow way (ground delivery "weekly stock replenishment"). For cheap catalog titles like these, the big chains and the studios are both not willing to pay UPS/Fedex/Airborne the extra money for fast freight delivery.

    No problem paying that for a hot hit like LotR:TTT or Daddy Day Care. But for a catalog title like I.Q.? Nah...no way. Sometimes they will piggyback these things together (send 2-5 copies of each catalog title in the same overnight drop shipment of a hot hit), but usually it gets sent straight to the chain's central warehouse about 2-3 weeks in advance, where it is supposed to be held for delivery to the individual stores just before or just after street date. The plan is to package it in along with the weekly stock replenishment.

    So that happens...these days usually on the truck that arrives at stores AFTER the title's street date. That's why we don't often see titles like those in the Fox Studio Classics lineup hit the store until the weekend after street date (or the one after that).

    Anytime it gets sent on the weekly replenishment shipment that hits stores BEFORE the street date, it will almost always get put out prior to the street date. Along with restock copies of titles that have been out for years. Because there's nothing in that big old box saying that "Casper" is a different item (i.e., a new release) than Fast Times At Ridgement High or Ghostbusters. It's all just mixed in together in one big box.

    Sharp-eyed employees are maybe able to spot a title that they happen to know isn't supposed to street yet, and put it aside in a special lockup area until street date. But that doesn't happen too often.

    Some chains have tried making special boxes that these all go together into that are specially marked, so that all the copies of something with a particular street date get put into this smaller box and marked, which is then shipped inside the bigger box that has the other already-released stuff. This works to a large degree, but costs extra money that the chains would rather not pay.

    Some chains are just letting them hit shelves, but programming the registers to not allow sales of these items until their street dates. When a clerk identifies an attempt to buy one before street date, they make sure that the DVD dept. pulls off the copies of that titles until the right date. Of course, now you've got at least one pissed-off customer in the bargain!

    For some chains, the solution seems to be to never have any of these in the stores in time for street date, but to make us wait weeks to get it from them. [​IMG] Yeah...now we're buying these from e-tailers instead, because then we are sure of getting them by the street date.

    There's not a clearly winnable method here for the big chains on the smaller titles. So they hope that those of us who notice, don't complain. [​IMG]
     
  3. ZackR

    ZackR Supporting Actor

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    Nice response, Dave. Thanks!

    I don't know why I was thinking Leap of Faith and IQ were 9/23 releases.

    I know I got Sleeping with the Enemy on 8/26, because the receipt is still in my wallet! [​IMG]

    Anyways, I just thought it was odd because I have never seen them break street date until recently.

    Oh well, I won't complain... [​IMG]
     
  4. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Maybe it was just never on stuff you cared about before. :wink:
     
  5. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

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    What are the actual penalties for street-date breakers? We hear about it so often, but never the repricussions. Any ideas?
     
  6. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    The studio won't ship future titles until street date, meaning they arrive well after and their competitors get the drop on them.
     
  7. Matt Pelham

    Matt Pelham Screenwriter

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    I have found the LARGEST sell-thru chains regularly breaking street dates on catalog releases, I can remember seeing

    The Blob (1988)
    Total Recall SE (baboon)
    Clean Slate
    Boycott

    and a few others merchandised on the shelf long before street date.
     
  8. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Cinematographer

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    I remember getting the first release of THE MUMMY(1999) three weeks early at a local Borders. I've never run into any other major titles that early unfortunately.
     
  9. CraigF

    CraigF Cinematographer

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    I inquired about the "penalty" a few weeks ago when trying to get something before street date that I *knew* they had in stock. I was told at the "largest electronics chain" in Canada that they get fined. I have pointed out to them a couple times that they were breaking street date on some titles, and they were seemingly grateful. It was an accident. I don't know if the titles would have rung through the cash. At the "second largest electronics chain" I have asked for and occasionally got a title before street date, they weren't on the shelves. They do ring through OK. Frankly, I couldn't care less about getting something on or before street date, I can wait, since I've usually already waited at least 3 months so a few days doesn't matter. But it seems odd to me that sometimes titles are in stock over a month before street date...it doesn't take a month to ship anywhere in Region 1.
     
  10. Mark_TS

    Mark_TS Screenwriter

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    I know some places opt to put out smaller indie stuff early-ie: Criterion, AB etc having little fear of legal repercussions.
    I remember getting PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK at least 2 weeks early when it came out.

    I once walked into Tower, and got the 16x9 reissue of LAST OF THE MOHICANs for $9.99-and a week early-it seems that some low budget company was also releasing LOTM-the silent version that week-and the stock recievers must have gotten confused.
    After I paid and left-the clerk chased me down to tell me of the mistake-but then figured that it would still register as "SD break" so they let me have it-or maybe they thought I switched tags-I dunno.
     
  11. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    The penalty varies from studio to studio. It CAN be the shipment delay mentioned above, but usually isn't.

    The "fine" usually consists of withholding money that the studio would normally supply to the chain in one of two ways. One way would be co-op advertising dollars ("if you display our stuff in your next newsprint, radio, and/or TV ads, we'll go in half with you on the cost of the ads"). This is a lucrative source of "income" for retail chains, and they really hate it when street date breaks are penalized by reducing the amount of future co-op ad dollar checks.

    The other way of "fining" would be to lower the percentage of a wholesale discount that chain gets on future puchases, or lower the percantage of "price protection" (i.e. reimbursement) the chain gets back from the studio for item markdowns or overstock returns.
     
  12. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

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    I didn't realize studios did co-op with retailers.

    Thanks, Dave!
     
  13. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

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    I've only seen a major retailer break street date once, and that was when I noticed that the movie CQ had been placed on shelves a couple of weeks early. I've never personally seen truly major releases released early in either major or smaller stores. It's always been small titles that would have limited sales.
     
  14. Chris_Morris

    Chris_Morris Screenwriter

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  15. Jodee

    Jodee Screenwriter

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  16. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    I saw a certain large electronics chain break street on Predator 2. They didn't have Predator 2 out on the shelves, but they did have the Predator/Predator 2 two-pack. Thsi was about a month before street date.
     
  17. WillKTaylor

    WillKTaylor Stunt Coordinator

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    Haven't seen sales as a breaker before, but there's a local rental shop that seems to get some titles five days before release date. Lord of the Rings and The Transporter are recent releases that come to mind.

    That's ok though, I usually only buy and never rent, and when I do rent, it isn't with Blockbuster any longer.

    I'll have to talk with the owner next time I see 'em around in there to find out the details on this. If I find anything out, I'll let you know .. if permitable.
     
  18. Carl Walker

    Carl Walker Stunt Coordinator

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    The best example of a broken street date for me was the Pearl Harbor Vista Series set. I purchased it a whopping 5 weeks before street date at my local "supercenter" store.

    Also, the same "supercenter" store regularly has the Fox TV sets (Simpsons, Buffy, Angel, Futurama, Family Guy, etc.) out a week early.

    My favorite broken street date was Star Wars Episode I. Honestly, this wasn't a broken street date, but I spotted a box on a pallet a week early and grabbed one when the sales clerk wasn't looking. The checkout system did not stop the purchase because of the street date, so I got to enjoy it before many of my friends did...
     
  19. Greg O' Connel

    Greg O' Connel Stunt Coordinator

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    I could be wrong about this, but I'm pretty sure studios don't fine retailers for breaking the street date on every single title, or even check for most titles. The big name releases (i.e Lord of the Rings), where stores could potentially lose thousands of dollars is a competitor stocks a film early are the ones that get checked.

     
  20. CraigF

    CraigF Cinematographer

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    Around here, Wal-Mart is the only major retailer I've never seen break street date. They only carry major titles though, so it would be much more obvious. Early on Tuesday mornings they have the studio "reps" in (and nice-looking pleasant reps they are too!) to set things up for new releases, check stock, rearrange, etc. so date-breaking would be noticed. So it seems WM is demanding, but they do stick to their end of the bargain.

    As for studio advertising, when there's a major release it's plastered all over the TV/monitor screens in the Best Buy flyers, for instance. A new one every week, sure hard to miss.
     

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