The Dude positively glistens in 1080p, manThe HD DVD liquidation has finally made it to Canada: Future Shop and Best Buy have dramatically slashed the prices on their remaining stock.

This is a very recent development; I was in a Future Shop on Wednesday evening, killing time before a screening, and the only sale title of note was the combo disc of “Atonement”, which had been marked down to $7.99. Everything else was, as per usual, wildly overpriced.

But yesterday, when I wandered into the Yonge and Dundas store on my way back from a meeting at the NOW offices, something was definitely up. Most of the Warner titles were marked down to $12.99 — combo titles were going for $14.99 — with most of the Paramount and Universal discs stickered at $18.99.

I picked up “The Fugitive” and “Forbidden Planet“.

Stopped into the Best Buy at Bay and Dundas, wondering whether the sale was spreading across both chains, and found a mirror version of the sale: Best Buy had marked the Universal titles down to $12.99, while leaving the Warner and Paramount discs at $18.99. Minor tweak: The Universal combo discs — the studio’s A-titles from the last two or three years — were $18.99.

I bought “U-571” and “Being John Malkovich”.

A few hours later, partly because I was in the neighborhood but mostly because I am somewhat compulsive, I stopped into the midtown Best Buy and Future Shop stores at Eglinton and Laird, near the Don Valley Parkway. Same deal, only now it was being organized; the Future Shop had swept all of its HD DVD discs into a big wire basket with “Blowout Sale!” scrawled on a card, and the Best Buy was in the middle of doing the same, separating the Universal and Genius Products discs out from the shelves and dumping them in an even larger wire basket.

I grabbed “Spartacus”, “The Deer Hunter”, “The Big Lebowski”, “The Mummy” and “Mallrats”. I would have picked up “Clerks 2” from the Genius titles — which were all down to just $7.99 — but I’d just bought it from Amazon at what appeared to be the sweet bargain price of $8.95. Still, can’t really get too worked up over that.

If you’re thinking about shopping online, start at Future Shop, which is carrying all of its sale titles online, though you’ll have to search the HD DVD selection to find them.

Best Buy’s Canadian site lists just a handful of Universal discs at $12.99, and doesn’t mention the Genius platters at all; the only one of the titles I picked up that’s on offer electronically is “The Deer Hunter“.

Oh, and HMV looks like it’s getting ready to do a big HD DVD dump; a few of Universal and Paramount titles had been restickered for the 2 for $30 sale at the Yonge and Dundas store yesterday afternoon, with enough space left on the sale rack to suggest more would be joining them.

Feel free to ask the obvious question: Why am I buying so many discs from an abandoned format? (It’s cool; Kate asked it, too.)

The answer is simple: They’re cheap, and they’re good, and I’m playing the odds. With the exception of “The Fugitive”, which is already out, none of these is likely to be available on Blu-ray any time soon.

I doubt Universal will rush to release any of its lesser catalogue titles when BD buyers want so many of its A-titles, and while Warner does plan to deliver “Forbidden Planet” at some point, it could be a year away, and I have a feeling I’ll want to watch it sooner than that.

See, I have this rule. If I see a used high-def disc selling for $14.99 or less, I’ll think about buying it. Anything higher is out of the question, unless it’s some rare import — and even then, I’ve never brought one home.

But a new disc for thirteen bucks? Of a movie I really want to own in high-def? That, dear friends, is a no-brainer. And if I can find “Serenity” or “The Sting” or Peckinpah’s “The Getaway” or even “Enter the Dragon” on a shelf today, I’m bringing them home.

… “Troy“, not so much. I do have standards.

2 thoughts on “Frenzy”

  1. My only worry about buying a lot of the HD DVD titles is will you be able to get players fixed if they break down, and if so for how long. By the way you didn’t mention Streets of Fire, one you wanted a while back.

  2. I can still get my Pioneer laserdisc player fixed if it needs work, so I’m expecting Toshiba will continue to support its HD DVD line in the same way. But yes, that’s a fair point, particularly for people who don’t live in large cities with convenient repair depots. It might not be worth the risk.

    “Streets of Fire” was stickered at $18.99 at the downtown Toronto Best Buy, and missing completely from the midtown store. Bah, enough waiting; I ordered it from Amazon for $13.95.

    Ellen Aim and the Attackers will not be denied.

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