DVD's moving in on home-video market
Seattle Times movie reviewer
As successful as "Titanic" was in theaters ($1.8 billion worldwide), the video release was pure profit: an additional $1 billion.
According to Variety,"videos generate about $10 billion more in domestic consumer spending each year than theatrical releases. Consumers spent more than $17 billion on the purchase and rental of videos last year."
DVD continues to take a substantial portion of those billions. It represents about 10 percent of the market at this point. "The Matrix" recently became the first disc to sell more than 3 million copies. And there's room for more than contemporary blockbusters on disc.
The niche markets continue to grow, offering a variety of subjects and formats that have not been possible before. Here's a roundup of new and notable discs:
Sports discs. USA Home Entertainment has just released four interactive discs for $25 apiece: "Major League Baseball: All-Century Team," "Greatest Moments in Super Bowl History," "Lord Stanley's Cup: Hockey's Ultimate Prize" and "Greatest NBA Finals Moments." The extra features include music videos, multi-angle options, trivia games and roundups of greatest players (the standout is a baseball montage featuring too-brief glimpses of Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth and many others).
Music specials. MPI Home Video is offering double-sided DVDs with four hours of programming from such vintage shows as "Music Scene" and "Hullabaloo" ($25 apiece). Paramount has "Blue's Big Musical Movie" ($25), Pioneer is offering "Black Heaven - Rock Bottom" ($30), and DVD International has a series of eight discs mixing classical compositions and eye-catching architecture: "A NAXOS Musical Journey" ($20 per disc).
Television-movie tie-ins. Anticipating next month's big-screen Jim Carrey version, Warner Home Video is releasing a disc of the original television show, "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" ($20). Thinking along the same lines is Columbia TriStar Home Video, which has just released two episodes of the original "Charlie's Angels" on one DVD ($25); the disc includes a trailer for the big-screen remake.
Foreign classics. Some of the most obscure foreign films are turning up on disc, including the excellent 1994 Norwegian World War II drama, "The Last Lieutenant" (Vanguard, $30), and Youssef Chahine's fascinating "Alexandria Trilogy" - "Alexandria Why?," "An Egyptian Story" and "Alexandria Again and Forever" (Winstar TV and Video, $70 for the set, $25 per DVD).
Operas. Pioneer's current lineup includes Wagner's "Tannhauser" ($30) and Giuseppe Verdi's "Simon Boccanegra" ($30), both Metropolitan Opera productions.
Collections of shorts. Image Entertainment has just released a four-disc set, "Treasures From American Film Archives: 50 Preserved Films" ($100). QuickBand Networks has a 135-minute collection, "Afrocentricity" ($15), made up of short films and interviews with African-American directors, and the ninth installment in its Short Cinema Journal series ($15).
Gay films. Strand Releasing recently brought out the Australian "Head On" and the Swedish "Show Me Love" ($30 apiece). Included on both discs are trailers for several other Strand gay films, including "Steam" and "Edge of Seventeen." The four-hour early-1999 British miniseries, "Queer as Folk," is now available on DVD ($70) from C1TV.com. First Run Features has a collection of shorts, "The Best of Boys in Love" ($30), including "Death in Venice, CA."
Halloween specials. Disney has just released Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" ($30), while Anchor Bay has a huge lineup including the original "Hellraiser" ($30) and the 1974 zombie shocker "Let Sleeping Corpses Lie" ($30). MPI Home Video has a single-disc Jack Palance double bill of "Dracula" and "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" ($25). Kino on Video is releasing a 1953 double bill, "Dementia" and "Daughter of Horror" ($30), as well as Guy Maddin's "Careful" ($30) and "Tales From the Gimli Hospital" ($30).
Stargazing. DVD International's latest release, "StarGaze: Hubble's View of the Universe" ($25), is made up of astonishingly detailed pictures of distant planets and galaxies. Too bad about the elevator music that accompanies these awesome views. Where are Beethoven's 9th and Holst's "The Planets" when you need them?
Classic comedy. Artisan Entertainment has collected 138 minutes of "The Little Rascals" on one disc ($15). Creative Light has released several discs of "The Sid Caesar Collection" (various prices and sets). Winstar Home Video has "The Unknown Peter Sellers" ($25) and "The Unknown Jonathan Winters" ($25). Rhino Home Video has "The Brady Home Movies" ($20), compiled from Super 8 movies made by the cast while they were filming the series. A&E Home Video has a Monty Python compendium, "The Life of Python" ($40). Paramount has released all three "Naked Gun" movies ($30 apiece).
Miniseries. Acorn Media has released the first eight episodes of "The Pallisers" as a four-disc set ($80). BFS Video is offering "Never Come Back" on a single DVD ($30), and "Piece of Cake" as a three-DVD set ($60). MPI Home Video has four episodes of the Jeremy Brett series, "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" ($20 apiece). A&E Home Video has the original Patrick McGoohan cult classic, "The Prisoner" ($40 per disc).
Boxed sets. MGM's third roundup of James Bond movies includes "From Russia With Love" and "You Only Live Twice," plus several lesser Bond adventures ($113), all with extra features. Universal's horror collection includes discs of "The Invisible Man," "The Creature from the Black Lagoon," "The Bride of Frankenstein" and five others, all with commentary tracks and plenty of extras ($200). Fox Home Entertainment has just packaged "Stories From Long Island: Three Films by Edward Burns" ($70), including the independent filmmaker's three completed features: "The Brothers McMullen," "She's the One" and "No Looking Back."
Video Watch by John Hartl appears Fridays in MovieTimes.
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