There is a strong slate of reissued movies coming out for sell-through video in the fourth quarter, but many retailers say they will not have the space to do them justice.
Among the biggest reissues will be "The Wizard of Oz," from MGM/UA Home Entertainment, Santa Monica, Calif.; "E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial," from MCA/Universal Home Video, Universal City, Calif., and "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," from Warner Home Video, Burbank, Calif.
"Given the fact that we have to bring in the hot new hits, it's just hard to dedicate a lot of space and effort to the re-releases," said a video executive with a Southwestern retailer who asked to remain unidentified.
"We won't be able to bring in all the re-releases. But we are still talking about what we are going to do," he said. "We are probably going to stay out of the reissues, just because there is so much else going on," said Randy Weddington, video specialist at Harps Food Stores in Springdale, Ark. Harps video departments will be allowed to bring in some of these titles.
For example, Weddington noted that one enterprising manager wanted to build a tornado display that would tie-in both "Twister" and "The Wizard of Oz." While he's considering the request, "I'm not going to do anything companywide," he said.
"There is less of a market for the reissues than there is for a new title," said Kyle Holdaway, video buyer at Harmon's in West Valley City, Utah. "Although it depends on the title, we tend to be real cautious with reissues," he said.
It is a good time of year to bring out repackaged and remastered movies, but space remains a concern, noted Brad Ufer, video merchandiser at Coborn's in St. Cloud, Minn. "I work with our general merchandise manager to develop a plan that will coordinate with his merchandising plan, so we will utilize the space in the grocery area in the best way possible," he said.
"The fourth quarter is getting very full," said Bill Bryant, assistant vice president of major accounts and special markets at Ingram Entertainment in La Vergne, Tenn.
"As it was last year, there are a lot of titles to select from, and they are all very viable. But floor space becomes an issue for those chains that don't have in-line sections to merchandise that product. You can only put so many titles out on the floor," noted Bryant.
"They are all going to do well, but some are going to do better than others," said Gary Schloss, vice president of grocery and general merchandise at Carr Gottstein Foods, Anchorage, Alaska. "If you get them out in front of the public, with competitive pricing and great merchandising, you will sell videos."
"E.T." will do well, said Schloss, "but 'Willy Wonka' is going to be a sleeper. It was a great movie to begin with, and I don't think people have paid attention to it for a long time. But it's been a steady renter. For them to come out with new box art and remarket it for the fourth quarter, I think it will be strong," he said. "The Wizard of Oz" will not be a big seller, he predicted: "I don't expect anything great from that. It's not going to be a major hit for us."
A video executive with a Midwestern retailer agrees. "I don't think 'The Wizard of Oz' is going to do much and I have questions about 'E.T.' We are going to support it, but probably not to the degree that MCA is counting on," he said.
" 'Willy Wonka' will do fairly well, although I was disappointed in the box art," he added.
"E.T." and "The Wizard of Oz" may have been overexposed from years of free television screenings and their previous releases on video, he said. "Price point might sell 'E.T.' [$14.98 suggested retail]. But I'm concerned about the saturation level out there and I think it is dated product, although aliens are hot," he said.
Rick Ang, buyer for Video Mart, Sacramento, Calif., which racks video departments in 17 Bel Air supermarkets in the Sacramento area, will bring in shippers of "The Wizard of Oz" and "Willy Wonka," but not "E.T."
"With such a crowded field of sell-through titles coming out at that time of the year, we just had to relegate that to our sell-through rack for space considerations," he said.
Ang is also concerned that "E.T." may be overexposed. "I know it has been off the general market for a while, but Sears had it for quite a while at the end of its last retail promotion, and it was pretty inexpensive. So I don't feel as much consumer excitement about the re-release of 'E.T.' as the rest of the movies," he said.
"Willy Wonka" is another matter, Ang noted. "Especially during a year when you hear a lot of political messages, 'Willy Wonka' is a good family film to promote. For people who have a children's-video collection, it is becoming more apparent that they need some of these films that have proven themselves to be good family favorites."