In its latest collaboration with documentary filmmaker Robert Greenwald (whose DVD Outfoxed sold 200,000 copies), the Disinformation Company will do its first simultaneous book and DVD release next week—and could see its biggest sales in both formats. Both the straight-to-video film Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price and Greg Spotts's book of the same title will go on sale November 15, and screenings in New York and Los Angeles have contributed to lots of pre-pub buzz. With the hype, which included interviews with Greenwald on Today and CNN, Disinformation has sold out its initial run of both the DVD (75,000 copies) and the book (25,000) and is planning a second printing of 25,000 DVDs and may go back to press for 10,000—15,000 more copies of the book.
Taking a page from the marketing playbook used so successfully by Mel Gibson for The Passion, the $1.6-million Wal-Mart film will launch as part of a week-long Wal-Mart Awareness campaign, starting November 13 with talks and screenings at churches and faith-based organizations. Close to 3,000 groups have signed up to show the film during the week, in addition to union screenings organized by Wal-Mart Watch and Wake Up Wal-Mart, said Disinformation president Gary Baddeley.
Because of the way books and DVDs are bought by most bookstores—by separate buyers with separate budgets—there will likely be little joint promotion, even in chains with strong movie sections. Still, Disinformation's book distributor, Consortium, is looking for its second hit this season. (It is also the distributor for Kurt Vonnegut's A Man Without a Country.) "The early publicity has been incredible," said Consortium president Julie Schaper. "I'm expecting we'll see reorders come in for it pretty quickly."
At St. Mark's Bookshop in New York City, where people have rallied against Wal-Mart's efforts to expand into urban centers, manager Michael Russo plans to feature Wal-Mart in the political science section. "We try to give Disinformation what we can in terms of display and stocking the books," he said. "Our customers really respond."