When one thinks of Target, it's certainly fitting to imagine the retailer as an outlet for the teenage girls that form the bulk of The Hunger Games' most dedicated fan base. What may not be so fitting to the Target brand and clientele are the terms like "14-carat gold replicas" and "$999 each." Yet, this is what Target is dangling as one of the marquee features of its exclusive Hunger Games DVD release event.
"These premium items range from $349 to $999 — Target’s first-ever licensed product offering at this price point — and will be introduced one per day beginning on Aug. 18 to coincide with the DVD release." Specifically, the Hunger Games licensed merchandise — nay, "keepsakes" — include, in very limited quantities exclusively on Target.com, such as must-have items as leather replicas of Katniss’ hunting jacket ($349), autographed lithographs ($699) and, at a bow-dropping $999 price point, a "14-carat gold replica of heroine Katniss Everdeen’s famed Mockingjay pin." Only 100 available.
Not to fret, poor residents of outlying districts, Target also has plenty of Hunger Games merch priced under $30 just for you.
It's probably too much to ask for that Target's hundred thousand dollar fleecing ($999 x 100) of addicted Hunger Gameheads turns out to be a performance piece that forms a commentary on the residents of Capitol, the wealth- and image-obsessed city at the rotten center of the Hunger Games universe.
Sure, it's not the $2,799 Twilight-inspired "Bella Engagement Ring®," but Target's Hunger Games tie-in is just the latest in a trend toward jacked-up marketing around DVD releases.
The Lorax — which saw a stink over its theatrical release tie-ins — is getting some cross-promotional love for its DVD launch this week with GE Lighting. When TV series Lost was released on DVD, there was a limited-edition Lost Magazine.
Then there is packaging. The AMC series The Walking Dead comes in a pencil-stabbed zombie head. The Cinderella trilogy arrives "in a Cinderella Picture Storybook that fits perfectly inside a beautifully crafted jewelry box."
Sales of DVD are spiraling the toilet. Last week, DreamWorks Animation SKG saw an 8 percent drop in its share price after, as one report noted, "Sales from DVD are declining at a faster than expected pace." So it's no wonder that studios and distributors are looking to squeeze all of the cash and cultural currency possible from "crack franchises," the series with addicted fans willing to buy and attend anything related to the property — while DreamWorks is setting up shop (and "an entertainment district") in China.
Warner Bros has battled poor DVDs sales by attempting to create market scarcity for the Harry Potter franchise. Late last year, the studio announced that it would follow the "Disney Vault" model by refusing to ship DVDs after a certain date.
Of course, the world is now 29 days away from the release of "The Wizards Collection" — a Potter special edition DVD set to end all DVD sets including all the films and…
"Exclusive Premiums Memorabilia designed exclusively for the collection by the graphic designers from the films · Label Collection – A collection of prop labels created by the production for potions, wizarding products and more · Harry Potter Catalogue of Artefacts — 48-page rigid book featuring the favorite props of the film’s graphic designers · Blueprint poster of Hogwarts castle – Detailed blueprint of Hogwarts castle is 22” x 26” · Concept Art Prints – High quality color concept art prints from the films are perfect for framing · Map of Hogwarts and the areas surrounding it — Full color 24” x 36” map of Hogwarts printed on fabric · Stuart Craig Sketch Prints -- Series of 5” x 7” black and white concept sketches from Harry Potter production designer, Stuart Craig · Horcrux Locket – Wearable, high-quality prop replica created by Noble Collection · Certificate of Authenticity — A uniquely numbered 8” x 10” certificate inspired by a Hogwarts Express ticket"
Just $499.99 (or $349.96 for pre-order)!
Expect the craziness to continue. There are at least two more Hunger Games films (and subsequent DVD releases) in the future, to say nothing of the special editions. Then there is the final film of the Twilight series coming in 2012, with its certain boxed set. Walmart already hosted special events for the release of the special edition Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 DVD last February.
Of course, it's important to understand how we got here. That $999 Hunger Games pin is all thanks to George Lucas' success with the 13,000 and counting special edition releases of Star Wars and related merchandise.