Walmart Upgrades Streaming Netflix Competitor Vudu

Megamind
Dreamworks Animation

Megamind, which THR film critic Todd McCarthy calls "an early holiday-season animated 3D winner," features voicing by Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. Director Tom McGrath's superhero tale centers on super-villain Megamind, who can't seem to pull off any successful evil feats but who, in a strange twist, may eventually save the day for Metro City. DreamWorks Animation is launching the family film with a unique push from Zynga, which will integrate Megamind into its most popular online game, FarmVille, renamed Mega-Farm during a 24-hour campaign starting Thursday to boost awareness of the film's Friday release.

The improvement coincides with a marketing push into the holiday season.

Giant retailer Walmart is upgrading Vudu, its streaming-video service that competes with Amazon.com and Netflix, while simultaneously beefing up marketing efforts into the Christmas gift-giving season.

Vudu said Thursday that movies and TV episodes it sells will now be downloadable, whereas before they resided in the cloud where they were unavailable to consumers who were without an Internet connection even though they owned access to the titles.

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On the marketing front, Walmart is giving $5 Vudu credit when customers buy certain DVD and Blu-ray titles at its bricks-and-mortar stores through Nov. 30, taking advantage of Black Friday, when Christmas shopping shifts into high gear. Some of the titles include Megamind, No Strings Attached, Ghostbusters, Spider-Man and Men in Black.

Vudu rents and sells 40,000 movies and TV episodes. Television episodes for purchase start at $1.99 and movies at $4.99, with more popular film titles running around $15 for standard definition.