News Home RSS Feed

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Avatar Announced for April Release in Rental and Retail Editions

Fox Home Video will release Avatar on April 22, 2010 in both Blu-ray and DVD rental and retail editions. Because of the importance of this title to our customers, we’ve compiled this document highlighting the differences one can expect between these two editions. The main differences affect cataloging, availability before street date, and pricing.

Click image to enlarge

Content and Cataloging Concerns
In an online blog post, the Wall Street Journal (2010) quoted James Cameron as saying “‘We’ll do the Blu-ray and the standard def DVD April 22nd, that’s our plan as of right now, and that’ll be pretty much bare bones. And then we’ll do a value-added DVD and a 3-D Blu-ray in I think November sometime.’” Customers concerned about missing out on key bonus features in rental editions should be aware that these features are being reserved for a later special edition release. Furthermore, the rental edition is the same edition offered by NetFlix, Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, and other home video rental businesses.

Additionally, customers who prefer to select retail editions to avoid duplicate catalog records should be aware that both the retail and rental editions of Avatar will only be available for 60 days before Fox cancels them in preparation for the November special edition release.

Street Date Delivery and Pricing
Midwest Tape can only guarantee pre-street date delivery of the rental edition of Avatar. To ensure timely delivery and order fulfillment, we strongly urge libraries to order the rental edition of this title. Midwest Tape will ship all orders on a first come, first serve basis.

Large retailers, like Wal-Mart and Target, have “imposed strict limits on the number of [retail edition] DVDs any one customer can buy at a time, making it harder for movie-rental kiosks such as Coinstar’s (CSTR) Redbox to get their hands on large numbers of newly released discs” (BusinessWeek, 2010). Due to reduced supply caused by these factors, customers who choose to order the retail edition should do so as early as possible because fulfillment of retail edition orders cannot be guaranteed.

In addition to the decreased supply, these limitations have lead to increased costs for library vendors who attempt to supply their customers with retail editions, leading some to discontinue the practice. Midwest Tape has decided to continue to offer our customers the retail edition, but it has become necessary to increase the cost of Fox retail titles by an average of $4–$5 per title. Essentially, we are buying indirectly to supply our customers with Fox retail DVDs.

We first tackled Fox’s retail/rental plan in an October News and Views story: 20th Century Fox Distributing Rental Editions of DVD Titles. Paramount also implemented a rental/retail DVD strategy in 2009: Paramount Experiments with Two-Tiered Pricing on Upcoming DVD Releases.

The pricing increase will be applied to all Fox retail DVDs announced after March 15, 2010. Retail editions announced before March 15, Fox rental editions, and standard releases will not be affected.

We appreciate your understanding in this matter. Please contact Customer Service at 800.875.2785 with any questions. You can also post feedback and questions here as comments.

Additional Reading


  1. Besides price and delivery date, what are the differences between the two editions? We've been telling our selectors to order retail versions because of additional features, but these two versions don't seem to have any differences based on your chart.

  2. According to Fox and their pre-publication materials, there will be no bonus or special features on either edition of the April Avatar release.

    Thanks for your question!

  3. This leads to the next question, why even have an April release? Seems Fox is just complicating matters to get people to buy two copies of the same movie and make more money $$$ - I don't plan on buying the November special feature DVD; just the April rental version.


We'd love to hear what you think! Just be sure to leave your name and email address or your username, so we can respond appropriately.