Uni eyes home vid for the holidays

DVD, Blu-ray gift sets include '08 theatricals 'Wanted' and 'The Incredible Hulk'

Universal Studios Home Entertainment this week is announcing an ambitious ramp-up in its home video gift set initiative, hoping that one secret to success in these rocky economic times lies in the hearts of collectors.

The studio has unveiled an unprecedented slate of 11 gift sets aimed at holiday shoppers, encompassing new theatrical releases and catalog titles. And for the first time, Blu-ray Disc is a factor; last year at this time Universal was still an exclusive supporter of the HD DVD format, which finally bowed out of the high-def format war in February.

"We've learned from experience that home entertainment enthusiasts eagerly look forward to such collectible editions of their favorite films and TV shows," said Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

Three of the theatrical releases coming to home video in the DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats: "The Incredible Hulk" (Oct. 21), "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" (Nov. 11) and "Wanted" (Dec. 2).

The "Hulk" DVD and Blu-ray gift sets each feature hours of bonus content, including an alternate opening scene and extensive background information about the film and its characters, as well as digital copy for play on portable movie-viewing devices. The Blu-ray version comes in collectible 3-D packaging.

"Hellboy II" will be released as a three-disc DVD and a two-disc Blu-ray gift set. The set includes a digital copy and bonus features. The gift sets also come with a director's production journal.

"Wanted," starring Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy, will be issued in a deluxe gift set, also in both DVD and Blu-ray versions, that includes a digital copy.

Popular catalog titles are featured in other gift sets, albeit on standard DVD only. Among them is "The High School Flashback Collection," now in stores, featuring three all-new special editions of 1980s films "The Breakfast Club," "Weird Science" and "Sixteen Candles," all from director John Hughes. (partialdiff)
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