AKRON, Ohio -- Fred W. Albrecht Grocery Co. here is updating video-rental departments as it remodels stores into its Acme Fresh Market format, including one in Montrose, Ohio, that was reopened this month.
The Montrose department, visited by SN, has about 1,000 rental units using a non-live inventory system, with the tapes kept behind a service desk. The section has mostly new releases, although not more than two copies of any title.
Albrecht's supplier, industry observers said, is Major Video Concepts, Indianapolis, the nation's largest rack jobber of supermarket rental departments. Albrecht formerly used Selectrak Family Video, Hillside, Ill., which was bought by Major last year.
Albrecht and Major executives could not be reached for comment. The retailer has video-rental departments in 13 of its 16 supermarkets, according to a phone survey of stores listed in a recent ad.
Rental rates are $2.49 for new releases, $1.99 for "Major Hits," $1.49 for other titles and $1.99 for a two-day video game rental. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the retailer offers a rent-one, get-one-free promotion.
Warner Sets Dec. 16
As Date for 'Contact'
BURBANK, Calif. -- Warner Home Video here will release "Contact," starring Jodie Foster, to the rental market Dec. 16 and in a special DVD edition.
The title will be Warner's first single-sided, dual-layer DVD and will include audio commentary by Foster, director Robert Zemeckis and producer Steve Starkey, as well as a 40-minute "anatomy" of special-effects sequences. Suggested retail on the DVD is $24.98.
On 'Hercules' Films
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- Following the Jan. 6 direct-to-video sell-through release of "Hercules and Xena -- The Animated Movie," Universal Studios Home Video here will release "Young Hercules" direct to the rental market Feb. 17. Order close is Feb. 2.
The new live-action film tells the story of the youth of the popular "Hercules" TV character. Support for the title will include an 8 1/2-inch by 11-inch window banner featuring "Young Hercules" on one side and "Kull the Conqueror" on the other. The studio will also offer retailers a $30 rebate by mail on the purchase of a three-pack of "Young Hercules."
Top 10 Supermarket Video Rental Titles
Title (Weeks Out) Studio Retail Last Week
1The Lost World (3) Universal $22.98 2
2Face/Off (2) Paramount $105.52 1
3Jingle All the Way (4) Fox $19.98 5
4Liar Liar (9) Universal $22.98 4
5The Fifth Element (4) Columbia $107.11 6
6Batman & Robin (5) Warner $22.98 3
7Romy & Michele (3) Touchstone $103.9 1
8Breakdown (6) Paramount $103.92 7
9Austin Powers (5) New Line $105.52 8
10Free Willy 3 (1) Warner $22.96 New
The chart at right, tailored for the supermarket video market, is based on information taken from more than 1,000 supermarket rental locations serviced by Ingram Entertainment, La Vergne, Tenn.