Had things gone according to plan, hardcore Marvel fans would be eagerly anticipating the arrival of the ultra-luxe $139 Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One – Avengers Assembled Blu-ray box set next week. Due to a lawsuit over the metallic S.H.I.E.L.D. briefcase that the discs come in, however, the set was pushed back to spring 2013 — and when it does finally arrive, it’ll come in a different case than the one originally shown. Bummer.

Happily, there’s a small silver lining for those who pre-ordered the set on Amazon. The retailer has sent out a notice to customers promising a free copy of The Avengers two-disc Blu-ray / DVD combo, redeemable for the next several weeks. More details after the jump.

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Joss Whedon took a crack on the big screen. So did producer Joel Silver. David E. Kelley tried on the small screen. And even though Wonder Woman has been rejected more often than not, she’s getting another shot. Over a year after the latest attempt to adapt the DC Comics superheroine for TV (on NBC with Adrianne Palicki as the star) Vulture has learned that Warner Bros., DC and The CW have hired Allan Heinberg (Grey’s AnatomyThe O.C.) to write a script for a new TV show.

Currently titled Amazon, the show would be in the mold of Smallville and focus on the character in her early years, long before she put on power bracelets, crown and red, white and blue tights. No pilot has been ordered so this is in the earliest stages of development but with a new Wonder Woman movie also in the works at Warners, the character certainly has proven resilient. Read more after the jump. Read More »

Looking for something to check out on your computer as you enjoy the last lazy days of summer? Hit the jump to learn about new additions to Amazon Prime and Netflix catalogs, plus info on Hammer Films’ new streaming channel and YouTube’s plans to edit its original content offerings.

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Amazon Creates ‘Never Before on DVD’ Store

A few different studios have experimented with ways to make ‘deep cut’ catalog films available to consumers on a limited basis. The model for such a plan has to be Warner Archive, which creates made-to-order DVDs from an ever-expanding catalog of newly mastered transfers.

Amazon has sold Warner Archive discs in the past, and has also been part of MGM’s initiative to offer similar products. Now Amazon is really diving into the manufacture on demand (MOD) DVD market, with the new ‘Never Before on DVD’ store.

The digital store is adding content to offer more than 2,000 titles from studios including Disney, Sony, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, Universal, and Fox. Among the Fox offerings are titles from MGM. All discs are created on DV-R based on consumer orders. Not all the titles are new to Amazon, or new to MOD, but Amazon is adding more titles, and organizing them in a new specific way. Read More »

There was a time not too long ago when “streaming video” was practically synonymous with “Netflix,” but right now, the market is only getting more crowded. Even as Redbox and Verizon team up to launch their own streaming service, Amazon.com Inc. is getting ready to jump into the fray as well. The online retailer is said to be on the verge of announcing a Web video deal with Viacom Inc., in one of the final steps toward lauching a standalone streaming service.

Currently, Amazon offers downloading and rental services a la Apple’s iTunes to all its customers. However, its all-you-can-watch instant streaming service is only available as part of its Amazon Prime program, which costs $79 a year and includes free two-day shipping on Amazon.com purchases. More details after the jump.

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Every few weeks we’re hit with trend pieces and editorial rants about the shifting habits of the average American movie watcher. But anyone can form an opinion or cobble together a theory — how do the numbers actually pan out? A pair of new reports have been released that confirm some expected patterns with some cold, hard figures. Americans are indeed spending more on home entertainment, for the first time since the recession took hold in 2008. Meanwhile, the average movie ticket price has fallen as summer’s 3D tentpoles make way for fall’s more adult-driven fare. More details after the jump.

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After taking a public pounding thanks to its recently announced updates to pricing and subscription models, Netflix finally has a bit of good news to announce. The company has just signed a huge deal with DreamWorks which will bring the studio’s films and TV specials to Netflix’s streaming service.

The accord comes not a moment too soon, as competitor Amazon makes its own big reveal today — a pact to bring 2,000 20th Century Fox films and television episodes to its own instant video service. The clear winner in all of this, however, is streaming, which continues to grow in importance within the home video market. Read more after the jump.

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Amazon Instant Video Service Launches For Prime Members

Rumors of Amazon’s streaming service have been circulating for several months now, and a few weeks ago, we reported that an eagle-eyed Engadget reader had spotted a notice on his Amazon page that read “Your Amazon Prime membership now includes unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming of 5,000 movies and TV shows at no additional cost.” The announcement was pulled almost instantly, but not before news spread throughout the media that Amazon was planning a video streaming service to compete with Netflix’s Watch Instantly.

Now, those rumors have become reality. As of this morning, Amazon’s new service has officially launched, and it’s more or less exactly what we expected. More details after the jump.

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