Warmer climate for Wal-Mart?

Gala will include Eagles perf, organic food

Wal-Mart and Hollywood don’t often seem cozy together. After all, the chain has sometimes irked the biz with its content restrictions. And its retail muscle lets it set tough terms on the DVDs and CDs it carries.

So it may seem surprising at first glance that Bob and Harvey Weinstein are throwing a star-studded gala to honor Wal-Mart chief H. Lee Scott on Oct 23 for, of all things, his “commitment to environmental sustainability.”

The gala, to be held in the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center, will include a performance by the Eagles, organic food and a cast of media heavyweights, including Cablevision CEO Jim Dolan, music manager Irving Azoff, former Time Warner chief operating officer Bob Pittman and investor Steve Rattner.

That the Weinsteins would want to cozy up with Scott, who is responsible for 40% of U.S. DVD sales, is a no-brainer. The company took a controlling stake in distributor Genius Products in July and is looking to build a slate of straight-to-vid family films targeted right at the heart of Wal-Mart’s demo.

Business aside, a Weinstein Co. spokesperson says the admiration is real. “We have long considered Lee Scott a great business partner for the entertainment industry as well as a great role model for those of us who care about the environment,” the Weinsteins said in a statement.

For its part, Wal-Mart has embarked on a five-year effort to reduce packaging, an effort that sits well with eco-friendly bizzers like the Weinsteins.

Ultimately, that may include rethinking the packaging of DVDs and CDs.

Of course, there’s already a solution to that one. It’s called downloads.

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