Blockbuster’s ‘Fog’ snub tied to Orion, say sources

Trade sources indicate that the reason Blockbuster Entertainment opted not to carry Woody Allen’s “Shadows and Fog” in its stores was not because of publicity surrounding Allen’s personal life, as several publications speculated (Daily Variety, Dec. 2).

They said the real reason was to retaliate against the pic’s distributor Orion Home Video, for giving fast-food chain McDonald’s the exclusive rights to sell “Dances With Wolves” at $ 7.99 (with food purchase).

Reportedly Blockbuster also opted not to buy Orion’s “Article 99.”

Though Blockbuster stores typically purchase about 12-15% of the cassettes of a national rental release, the impact on “Shadows and Fog” is believed to be about half that figure, as only Blockbuster’s corporate stores are participating in the snub. Franchisees are said to have purchased the titles.

Orion officials would not comment, and calls about “Fog” to Blockbuster were referred to senior VP/general merchandising manager Carol Feinberg, who did not return them.

A spokesman for Blockbuster said earlier this week, however, that the chain intends to buy Woody Allen’s “Husbands and Wives” when it is released on vid by Columbia TriStar Home Video.

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