MGM/UA IS LAUNCHING $9.99 MOVIES

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- MGM/UA Home Entertainment here has established a new $9.99 line of movies to target supermarket customers. The new Movie Time line will start off with 10 titles on its Feb. 13 street date. It will include titles like "The French Lieutenant's Woman," "The Mighty Quinn" and "The Russia House.""These are high-quality, star-driven films that are perfect impulse purchase items for

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- MGM/UA Home Entertainment here has established a new $9.99 line of movies to target supermarket customers. The new Movie Time line will start off with 10 titles on its Feb. 13 street date. It will include titles like "The French Lieutenant's Woman," "The Mighty Quinn" and "The Russia House."

"These are high-quality, star-driven films that are perfect impulse purchase items for the primary purchaser of videos: female heads of households," said Blake Thomas, senior vice president of marketing at MGM/UA Home Entertainment.

The $9.99 suggested retail price is ideal for supermarkets, he said. "Supermarkets are the last frontier for video. We wanted to give them high-margin, relatively low-priced products that would have strong appeal to their key consumers. This gives them a relatively easy way to participate in the growth of the video business," Thomas said. Other titles in the line are "Clambake" with Elvis Presley, "Not Without My Daughter," "Memories of Me," "Blue Steel," "Teachers" and "True Love." Ten new titles will be promoted every quarter, Thomas said.

Although he expects the titles to sell for less than $9.99 at retail, "there will be plenty of room for margin," he said. "It will offer supermarkets and mass merchants the kind of profit margins that they don't get on the big sell-through titles," he said.

Thomas said the collection will provide high-quality alternatives to some of the lower-priced video products available. Besides Elvis Presley, stars include Jamie Lee Curtis, Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, Billy Crystal, Kevin Kline, Susan Sarandon, Denzel Washington, Sally Field and Sean Connery.

"The films themselves have broad appeal, not just to female heads of households," he said. Point-of-purchase materials will include prepacks in a variety of sizes, Thomas said.

"We will work with our retail partners on an account-by-account basis to put together a merchandising presence in their stores that is appropriate for them," he said. The line will be appropriate for in-and-out programs or in-line sell-through presentations, Thomas said. For example, he noted, a 48-piece shipper "is not a huge commitment, but it allows retailers to participate in the growth of video without the expense of managing a video section. "This kind of product is great for creating profitable promotional excitement in stores," he said.