Jason Ward of Making Star Wars has reported WalMart’s battle plan for promoting Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Force Friday, Star Wars Battlefront in November, and the Blu Ray and DVD release date of The Force Awakens next spring. Ward says that it’s currently being passed on to employees in Midwest chain locations, so he assumes it’s circulating elsewhere in the United States, as well.
Read the information Ward says is being given to employees in preparation for this fall and winter.
"We’re planning four major Star Wars events. May the Force be with you while you’re making this fun for our customers and driving sales!The Retailtainment Event is Friday, September 4th at 12:01 am and Saturday September 5th at 10 am.Star Wars: Battlefront weekend trading event is November 13th and 14th.The Star Wars: Battlefront video game launches on November 17th with in-store “Game Play Event.”Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie releases into theaters December 18th and on DVD and Blu-ray this Spring!"
Here’s what’s going down: WalMart employees will designate a “Star Wars Champion” who will organize and run each event. On September 3rd, the preparations for Force Friday (the “Retailtainment Event” on the list above) will begin with the removal of all Star Wars products on store shelves, and proceed with getting the store into “Star Wars mode.” These preparations involve setting up a “young men’s t-shirt display… a boy’s display,… [and] a new Star Wars awning” for the action figure display.
Image from starwars.com
So it looks like they’re taking away all of the items that have the Star Wars Rebels Stormtrooper-themed packaging and replacing them with the items that bear The Force Awakens promotional packaging.
A “pallet train” of Star Wars action figures will be set up before Force Friday officially begins at midnight on September 4th. These pallets are supposed to be plastic-wrapped and guarded until cash registers are unlocked at 12:01 am. Alternatively, the pallets will be unwrapped early and customers will be able to pick up items to purchase, but regardless they will have to wait until 12:01 am to purchase them. The official plan, however, according to Ward, is to keep the pallets guarded and not let customers peruse them until after midnight, September 4th.
The following day, Ward says, a station will be set up near the action figures to promote them to customers.
That takes care of Force Friday. With regard to Star Wars: Battlefront, its first promotional event will begin a few days before November 17th (the game’s official release date). There will be “some kind of Star Wars: Battlefront ‘Trading Event’ demo” on the 13th and the 14th, followed a few days later by the game’s midnight premiere on the 17th.
I’m wondering if that Trading Event is for players of the old Battlefront and Battlefront II to trade in their games for the new one. That seems almost like too expensive of a giveaway to me, though, as most Star Wars video game lovers are likely to have at least or the other of the previous Battlefront games. But it would also be a great way for WalMart to get customers to come to their promotional event, as opposed to going to Best Buy or a video game store like Gamestop.
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That leaves the promotion of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Blu Ray and DVD for the last event on WalMart’s list. Considering Disney’s past home video releases of movies that had their theater premieres in December, I could see a March or April release date for Episode VII (Disney’s Into the Woods, for example, which premiered in theaters in December of 2014, was released on Blu Ray and DVD the following March). Also, I know that WalMart has had preorders of certain movies available to purchase in store in the past, and they may do something similar for The Force Awakens.
At this time, neither we nor Ward has any word on any other promotional plans for the release date.
It sounds like WalMart is preparing for a fun (albeit potentially dangerous with people snatching stuff off those pallets) party for September 4th! I’m totally stoked; though, I’m still not sure which Force Friday event would be the best to attend. After all, Toys R Us and probably Target have Force Friday events planned, as well. Which one will you be attending?