THE LAST UNICORN, the beloved 1982 animated feature directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin Jr., appears headed to DVD on March 16 through Artistan Home Entertainment, according to online retailers such as DVD Planet (www.dvdplanet.com) and DVD Empire (www.dvdempire.com), which are currently taking pre-orders. Featuring the voice talents of Alan Arkin, Rene Auberjonois, Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow, Angela Lansbury and Christopher Lee, THE LAST UNICORN concerns a brave unicorn and magician that battle an evil king bent on destroying all unicorns. Peter S. Beagle adapted his novel for the screen. A live-action version produced by Continent Film Ltd. (also scripted by Beagle) is in the works for a holiday release in 2004. Lee, Farrow, Lansbury and Auberjonois co-star. All but Farrow reprise their roles. Farrow, who voiced the unicorn in the animated feature, portrays Molly Grue. Julian Doyle and Michael Pakleppa share directing duties.
Category: Home Entertainment
The big-screen version of S.W.A.T., starring Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell and Michelle Rodriguez, comes to DVD on Dec. 30, 2003 (Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, $28.95) with enough gunfire and other explosions (with vfx help from Pixel Magic) to satisfy action-movie junkies as well as fans of the '70s TV series.
Fans of the animated Nickelodeon series, THE WILD THORNBERRYS, can now join Eliza Thornberry and her family on their cross-continental adventures with an exclusive offer through National Geographic. The two VHS sets follow the Thornberrys as they trek through Africa and Australia filming wildlife documentaries and getting mixed up in their crazy adventures along the way. Available exclusively through National Geographic, the two video sets can be purchased by calling 1-800-627-5162 or by ordering online at www.nationalgeographic.com.
Worldwide sales of the direct-to-video BARBIE OF SWAN LAKE have topped more than two million units through Entertainment Rights (excluding North America), via its home entertainment division, Rights Ent. This includes more than 400,000 units in the U.K., where the title has remained at number five on the children's chart after debuting at number one.
These figures follow the trend that began with Barbie's first direct-to-video feature, BARBIE IN THE NUTCRACKER and continued with BARBIE AS RAPUNZEL, which were also distributed through Entertainment Rights.
Described as a combination of Joan Miró, Buster Keaton, Chuck Jones, Gene Kelly and Felix the Cat, the iconoclastic animator, actor, dancer, cinematographer and editor Grant Munro is paid tribute on the new DVD CUT-UP: THE FILMS OF GRANT MUNRO (Image, $29.99). Presented by The National Film Board of Canada (where Monroe worked) and Milestone Films, the disc features 109 minutes of significant hand-drawn and pixilated animation, live action and documentary shorts covering 1945-1983.
SEABISCUIT, writer/director Gary Ross' acclaimed screen adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand's revered bestseller about the legendary race horse and his place in American lore, comes to DVD Dec. 16, 2003 (Universal Home Entertainment, $26.98) with several noteworthy extras: commentary from Ross and director Steven Soderbergh, production notes, three featurettes ("Racing Through History," "Bringing the Legend to Life" and "Anatomy of a Movie Moment: From Script to Screen") and co-star Jeff Bridge's on-set photographs.
Finally, with SOUTH PARK'S pivotal third season, released on DVD on Dec. 16, 2003 (Paramount Home Entertainment, $49.99), fans get actual episode commentary - or "commentary-mini" - by creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who riff for five minutes before all 17 episodes. Called a turning point by Parker and Stone, the third season from 2000 was actually produced while making the feature, SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT. The creators proclaim "Tweek vs.
The collision of RUGRATS and THE WILD THORNBERRYS into the RUGRATS GO WILD animated feature makes its way to DVD on Dec. 16, 2003 (Paramount Home Entertainment, $29.99). The Nickelodeon Movies/Klasky Csupo production offers both families marooned on a not so deserted island in the Pacific, with the bratty Angelica and Debbie basically stealing the show. Among the extras are deleted scenes, alternate ending, a behind-the-scenes featurette and exclusive interactive game.
Now on DVD, LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER, THE CRADLE OF LIFE (Paramount Home Entertainment, $29.99) continues the video game-inspired exploits of the alluring archeological adventuress (Angelina Jolie) in this sequel involving Pandora's Box.
BAD BOYS II, which reunites director Michael Bay with stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence for more stylized action and violence, hits DVD Dec. 9, 2003 (Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, $28.96). Bolstered by vfx supplied by Sony Pictures Imageworks, the two-disc set contains lots of extras, including seven deleted scenes, featurettes devoted to vfx and stunts, six sequence breakdowns (with on-set footage, storyboards and scripts), 19 production diary featurettes and Jay-Z "La-La-La" music video.
DECODE Entertainment is following the international television sales success of its illustrative pre-school show FRANNYS FEET with a major home entertainment deal. Universal-owned Vision Video Ltd (VVL) has picked up the U.K. rights and plans a full-scale retail release of the series on DVD and video early in 2004.
This is DECODEs second deal with VVL following a home entertainment agreement for its other preschool property THE SAVE-UMS! earlier this year.
Although 24 out of the 40 first season episodes of SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS have already appeared on DVD, it's nice to have the other 16 Nick episodes too, so kudos to Paramount Home Entertainment for releasing SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS - THE COMPELTE 1ST SEASON in time for the holidays ($49.99).
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL, the year's top live actioner, has sold 11 million DVD and VHS units (a reported 90% on DVD) in its first week of sales, becoming the largest opening live-action home entertainment title in history. According to VIDEO BUSINESS, that translates to about $187 million in revenue.
With the Dec. 2, 2003 release of THE LAND BEFORE TIME: THE GREAT LONGNECK MIGRATION Universal Studios Home Video celebrates the 15th anniversary of this billion-dollar direct-to-video animation franchise. THE GREAT LONGNECK MIGRATION ($24.98) marks the 10th installment of the children's dinosaur saga, which began with the beloved theatrical feature directed by Don Bluth and exec produced by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.
On the heels of Ridley Scott's recent director's cut of ALIEN comes ALIEN QUADRILOGY, the ultimate box set of the sci-fi franchise and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment's (TCFHE) most ambitious DVD project yet. Streeting Dec. 2, 2003 and priced at $99.98, QUADRILOGY contains four films, nine discs and 45 hours of bonus materials. Plus new vfx in ALIEN and ALIEN3 supplied by TCFHE and five houses (Svengali, R!OT, Encore, Frantic and Modern Video). There are 15 new CG shots in ALIEN, including CG blood, CG fire, wire removal and star fields.
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin-based BrownBoots Interactive has begun production on a 3D animated feature entitled, DINOVILLE ADVENTURES: METEOR MADNESS. Co-directing and producing the project are BrownBoots president Alan Hathaway and animator Tim Bowser. The 30-minute film should be finished in July 2004 and BrownBoots hopes to shop the project around to the direct-to-video market.
Various Internet sources have claimed that Fox Home Entertainment and LucasFilms have released information to retailers that the original STAR WARS trilogy will be released on DVD November 2, 2004. These rumors first started when LucasFilms held a hush hush invitation only marketing preview in San Francisco on Nov. 5, 2003. Force.net is stating that the films with be packaged individually and not as a box set. Fox Home Entertainment has told VFXWorld it is too early to confirm any of the details until LucasFilms informs them.
Disney's PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL, which has amassed more than $304M to date, arrives Dec. 2, 2003 on DVD (Walt Disney Home Entertainment, $29.99). The two-disc set includes a bounty of supplemental riches, including audio commentaries by director Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp, deleted scenes, a "making-of" featurette, "Moonlight" scene progression, blooper reel and an interactive history of pirates.
X2: X-MEN UNITED (Fox Home Entertainment, $29.98) has arrived on DVD. The highly anticipated follow-up to X-MEN has director Bryan Singer and crew surer footed with both the comic book conventions and demanding vfx, supervised by Michael Fink, who recently wrote about the history of previs for VFXWORLD.
g-NET Media LLC has announced the establishment of g-NET Publishing in order to produce and market videogame-related home-video products. g-NET Publishing's first product will be iGuides, the world's first line of officially licensed DVD videogames strategy guides. g-NET has teamed with FUNimation Productions Ltd. as the exclusive distributor for its iGuide product in the U.S. and all English-speaking territories.
After only two weeks, Disney/Pixar's FINDING NEMO has sold a record-breaking 15 million units on DVD and another 5 million units on video, reeling in more than $360 million in total home entertainment revenue, according to Buena Vista Home Entertainment. That exceeds the nearly $340 million raked in at the North American box office this year, a record for animated features. In terms of DVDs, NEMO has surpassed THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (14.5 million units).
Amman, Jordan-based Rubicon, Washington, DC-based Layalina Prods. and Los Angeles-based Fat Rock Ent. have teamed up to create a 13-episode series addressing the cultural gap that exists between the United States and the Arab world. Heading the project will be Rubicon ceo Randa Ayoubi, Layalinas chairman Richard Fairbanks and Fat Rock ceo David Pritchard, who created the series. The project is intended to be a direct-to-DVD production, but will also air on satellite and television broadcast networks both in the Middle East and the U.S. The budget for the project is set at $5 million.
Due to "overwhelming consumer demand and retailer orders for Buena Vista Home Entertainment's WALT DISNEY TREASURES WAVE 3," the highly anticipated and collectible limited series has been pushed back from December 2, 2003 to May 18, 2004. Apparently Technicolor is backed up with manufacturing orders (including FINDING NEMO, THE LION KING and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN), because, according to an official statement, "demand for the four titles in the upcoming wave has exceeded BVHE's ability to manufacture enough [units]."