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Studio News - Paramount

Here's the full text of Paramount's press release announcing their April DVD titles, including an anamorphic widescreen version of The Relic:

PARAMOUNT HOME VIDEO SCORES WITH A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY ON DVD IN APRIL

Three More DVD Titles Also Released On That Date

Hollywood, February 22, 1999


On April 20, hipness reaches new levels as Paramount Home Video releases the ultra-cool comedy, A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY, on DVD, day-and-date with the videocassette release. Also available on that date will be three more eagerly anticipated favorites from Paramount's extensive catalog of hits. All titles will be available for $29.99 S.R.P. each in the U.S. and $39.99 S.R.P. each in Canada, with an M.A.P. of $24.95 in the U.S. Order cut-off date is March 23.

In the $30 million box-office smash, A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY, Steve (Will Ferrell) and Doug (Chris Kattan) have only one goal in life: to get into L.A.'s #1 night spot - the too-cool Roxbury Club - and become movers and shakers of the night club scene. Unfortunately, they're not on the guest list, so they're stuck on the sidewalk as "A-club people leading a B-club life." That is until they roll into a fender bender with club regular and litigation-phobic actor Richard Grieco, who helps them score, by escorting them into the Roxbury. Now anything's possible and life will never be the same for those cheesy Roxbury Guys.

Also on April 20, Paramount will release on DVD the fifth installment in the Star Trek franchise, William Shatner's directorial debut, STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER, starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy and : the effects-packed shocker which puts a new twist on haunted-house movies, THE RELIC, starring Tom Sizemore, Penelope Ann Miller and Linda Hunt; and the spectacular adaptation of H.G. Wells classic novel, THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, starring Gene Barry, Ann Robinson and Les Tremayne and containing Academy Award-winning special effects that can be considered on par with anything seem in films today.

All titles in the Paramount DVD line feature interactive menus, scene selection and theatrical trailers. They are also in widescreen format, except for the THE WAR OF THE WORLDS which contains the original Dolby Digital monaural tracks. In addition, all titles are all close-captioned for the hearing impaired.

Paramount Home Video is part of the operations of Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc.




PREVIOUS NEWS (11/11/98)

Here's the text of Paramount's official press release, announcing the December due date for their Deep Impact DVD:

Deep Impact

Leads Paramount Home Video's December DVD Slate

Six Other DVD Titles Released Just in Time for the Holidays


HOLLYWOOD, November 4, 1998 - Paramount Home Video's DVD library continues to make an impression on the market with the release of the box-office smash DEEP IMPACT on December 15. In addition, available December 1, day-and-date with the video release, is the delightful romantic fantasy SLIDING DOORS (available in U.S. only). Included along with DEEP IMPACT on December 15 are other star-studded favorites, aimed at continuing the trend of making available on DVD the finest selection of catalog top-sellers from the studio's extensive film library. All titles will be available for $29.99 S.R.P. in the U.S. and C$39.99 S.R.P. in Canada.

DEEP IMPACT is the global vision of hope in the face of celestial destruction, and 1998's first summer box-office hit from Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures. With a worldwide box office over $340 million, the film stars Elijah Wood as a fourteen-year-old astronomer, Tea Leoni as an ambitious newswoman and Robert Duvall as a former astronaut, who all find themselves at the forefront of potential catastrophe when it is discovered that a comet is on a fatal collision course with the Earth. This stunning, special effects actioner is further highlighted by impressive performances by Academy Award-winners Morgan Freeman, Vanessa Redgrave and Maximilian Schell.

In keeping with the tale of a life sent along two divergent paths, the $11 million romantic fantasy SLIDING DOORS will be released onto both DVD and videocassette on December 1. Gyneth Paltrow stars as the lovelorn woman for whom a moment of hesitation on a subway platform causes her life to split into two possible scenarios. Jack Hannah, Jeanne Triplehorn and John Lynch co-star in acclaimed producer Sidney Pollack's quirky comedy with a twist.

Deep Impact - Dec. 15 - The $340 million special effects actioner starring Tea Leoni, Morgan Freeman, Robert Duvall and Elijah Wood *$140 domestic, $200 international box office.

Sliding Doors - Dec. 1 - The $11 million romantic fantasy starring Gwyneth Paltrow.

Patriot Games - Dec. 15 - The thrilling $83 million hit from the popular Tom Clancy Series starring Harrison Ford.

Private Parts - Dec. 15 - The $41 million comic sensation headlined by the self-proclaimed King of All Media himself, Howard Stern.

Event Horizon - Dec 15 - The electrifying $26 million science fiction/horror extravaganza starring Laurence Fishburne and Sam Neill.

Hard Rain - Dec. 15 - The $20 million action-packed crime-thriller starring Morgan Freeman, Christian Slater and Minnie Driver.

Escape from L.A. - Dec. 15 - The $25 million sequel to the futuristic cult favorite, featuring Kurt Russell, Cliff Robertson and Pam Grier.

All titles in the Paramount DVD line are in widescreen format and will feature interactive menus and scene selection as well as theatrical trailers on all but PRIVATE PARTS and SLIDING DOORS. Audio tracks in English feature Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Surround. In addition, all titles are all closed-captioned for the hearing impaired and, with the exception of SLIDING DOORS, will be available with a French language version. Spanish subtitles are included on all but DEEP IMPACT.

Paramount Home Video is part of the operations of Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc.




PREVIOUS NEWS (8/13/98)

Paramount has sent out faxed information listing the specific features of their upcoming DVDs:

Star Trek: First Contact - LBX, 16x9, English DD 5.1, English and French DD 2.0, English captions, Spanish subtitles, 2 trailers

Face/Off - LBX, 16x9, English DD 5.1, English and French DD 2.0, English captions, Spanish subtitles, trailer

The Saint - LBX, 16x9, English DD 5.1, English and French DD 2.0, English captions, Spanish subtitles, trailer, director's commentary

Kiss the Girls - LBX, English and French DD 5.1, English DD 2.0, English captions, Spanish subtitles, trailer

Twilight - LBX, 16x9, English DD 5.1, English and French DD 2.0, English captions, Spanish subtitles, trailer

The Odd Couple II - LBX, English DD 5.1, English and French DD 2.0, English captions, Spanish subtitles, trailer

Top Gun - dual-layered, LBX and pan & scan, English DD 5.1, English and French DD 2.0, English captions, Spanish subtitles

Primal Fear - LBX, English DD 5.1, English and French DD 2.0, English captions, Spanish subtitles, trailer

Clear and Present Danger - LBX, English DD 5.1, English and French DD 2.0, English captions, Spanish subtitles, trailer

In & Out - LBX, 16x9, English DD 5.1, English and French DD 2.0, English captions, Spanish subtitles, trailer



PREVIOUS NEWS (8/10/98)

Here's more good news. Paramount has finally announced their DVD titles as well. Here's their press release, as appeared today on Yahoo:

Monday August 10, 12:46 pm Eastern Time

Company Press Release

Paramount Home Video Announces First Wave of DVD Releases Ten Titles to Premiere in October

HOLLYWOOD--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)

Aug. 10, 1998


Paramount Home video launches into the DVD format this October with a premiere collection of 10 star-studded and box office hit movies representing some of the best from Paramount's extraordinary film library.

In order to firmly establish their position in the DVD marketplace, Paramount is initiating their entry with a selection of catalog top sellers, recent top theatrical favorites and titles from their highly successful film franchises. All titles will be available at a $29.99 suggested retail price in the United States and C$39.99 in Canada. The announcement was made by Eric Doctorow, president, Worldwide Home Video for Paramount Pictures.

"Paramount Home Video is aggressively entering the DVD market with a broad range of titles that will appeal to the current user and draw other film lovers to this exciting new home entertainment option,'' said Doctorow. "As we close 1998 and enter 1999, Paramount will continue to provide a volume of quality choices to drive this format into the new millennium.''

On Oct. 6, Paramount will release five titles starting with the science fiction box office hit based on the popular franchise and one of the most requested DVD titles, "Star Trek: First Contact.'' John Woo's recent $112 million box office smash, "Face/Off,'' starring John Travolta and Nicolas Cage, streets on that date as well. Also releasing are: the more than $60 million action-thrillers "The Saint'' starring Val Kilmer and Elisabeth Shue and "Kiss the Girls'' starring Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd, and the seductive thriller starring Academy Award winners Susan Sarandon, Paul Newman and Gene Hackman, "Twilight.''

The second group of five DVD releases, available Oct. 20, kicks off with another one of Paramount's top five selling titles of all time, "Top Gun,'' starring box office giant Tom Cruise. The first of the action hits from the Tom Clancy franchise to be available is "Clear and Present Danger'' starring Harrison Ford. "Primal Fear,'' the $56 million courtroom thriller starring Richard Gere and Golden Globe award winner Edward Norton also streets that date. Also available will be two comedies, "In & Out'' starring Kevin Kline, Joan Cusack and Tom Selleck, and closely following its videocassette release, "Neil Simon's The Odd Couple II'' starring Hollywood legends Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.

Fifteen more titles for November and December release will be announced shortly, and will include more top action and comedy hits from Paramount's film library and an addition to the "Star Trek'' DVD line-up.

The Paramount DVD line will feature interactive menus and scene selection on all titles, and theatrical trailers on the majority of titles. "The Saint'' will have special commentary by the film's director Phillip Noyce. All DVD releases will be available in the Amaray style DVD-SAFE casing, the packaging that conforms with VSDA recommendations.

All titles will be available in widescreen, with "Top Gun'' also available in a two version disc featuring pan-and-scan and widescreen. Audio tracks in English feature Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Surround. Also, viewers will be able to access French language and Spanish subtitles versions. They will be close captioned for the hearing impaired.

Paramount also announced that they have entered into an exclusive, long term agreement with Panasonic Disc services for the replication of their DVD discs. "We are delighted to be working with Panasonic Disc Services and Bob Pfannkuch in this business venture,'' said Doctorow. "Panasonic's long tradition in the entertainment industry and Bob's years of experience will be valuable assets as we explore and further develop this new technology.''

Paramount Home Video is part of the operations of Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc [AMEX:VIA - news].




PREVIOUS NEWS (8/6/98)

The following article is transcribed from this week's issue of Video Business magazine (week of August 3rd):

Star Trek to hit DVD

THIS TRANSCRIBED ARTICLE HAS BEEN REMOVED FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS BY REQUEST OF VIDEO BUSINESS.



PREVIOUS NEWS (8/3/98)

The following article is transcribed from the August 2-8, 1998 issue of Video Store magazine:

No 'Titanic' on Paramount's Fall DVD Slate

by Kevin Brass

Paramount Home Video will officially enter the DVD business in October, but Titanic won't be among its first titles.

As of presstime, Paramount was reportedly set to announce 10 titles to be released in two waves. The initial release list includes The Saint, Kiss the Girls, Twilight, Star Trek: First Contact, In & Out and Clear and Present Danger.

Paramount is also reportedly targeting Face/Off and Top Gun for its initial DVD push, although release dates have not been finalized. A Paramount spokesperson declined comment.

Titanic, which streets on VHS Sept.1, may not appear on DVD in 1998, sources say. Numerous factors are being blamed for the delay, ranging from piracy concerns to the relationship between Paramount and Twentieth Century Fox, which controls international rights to the film.

Paramount has agreed to make titles available day-and-date on Divx, but Divx does not expect to release a version of Titanic before the open DVD, according to Divx executive v.p. Dick Sowa.



PREVIOUS NEWS (6/8/98)

Dorrit Ragosine of Paramount Home Video was kind enough to call me this morning, and inform me that the DVD release plans for Titanic have not yet been determined (many thanks, Dorrit!). You will find the full text of their official press release below:

James Cameron's Titanic the World's Most Popular Movie Sets Sail On Videocassette September 1

Paramount Home Video Launches Its Largest Marketing Campaign Ever

Sprint and Max Factor On Board As Cross-Promotional Partners

June 8, 1998, Hollywood, California


Paramount Pictures' and Twentieth Century Fox's TITANIC, the highest grossing motion picture of all time, will make its official domestic videocassette debut September 1, 1998. The winner of 11 Academy Awards(R) including Best Picture, TITANIC has to date grossed more than $581 million at the domestic box-office and still maintains top-ten status on the box-office charts after more than twenty-five weeks in theaters. The launch of this landmark movie on videocassette will be supported by Paramount Home Video's largest marketing campaign ever, including consumer promotions with industry leaders Sprint and Max Factor. The actual expenditures of the combined marketing campaign will exceed $50 million and will generate more than an estimated three billion consumer impressions over a five month period, covering pre-street date through the holiday selling season. TITANIC has a 90 day pay-per-view window and carries a minimum advertised price (M.A.P.) of $19.95 in the U.S. There is no suggested retail price and order cut-off is July 28.

Eric Doctorow, President, Worldwide Home Video commented at a press conference held at Paramount Studios, ``This is a very exciting time for the home video division as the baton is passed to us to market this extraordinary film.'' He added, ``We are thrilled to be joining forces with Sprint and Max Factor. Their unique promotional offers have helped us create an unprecedented marketing campaign to bring this exceptional film to video.''

MASSIVE CONSUMER ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN

Leading Paramount Home Video's marketing campaign is the division's largest advertising campaign ever, that is expected to reach 95% of adults 18-49 over 26 times. It kicks-off with an eleven week, three wave television advertising campaign that includes two weeks of pre-street teaser spots, moving into a five week street date run and culminating in a three week holiday gift-buying message campaign. Spots will appear on network television, syndication and cable during early morning, prime time and late night day parts. The national campaign will be supplemented with spot TV and radio in top markets.

From mid-August through October full page print ads will herald TITANIC's videocassette availability. A second wave of full page ads featuring a holiday gift-giving message will appear in top national publications throughout November and December. The print campaign targets the film's top demographic groups (teens 12-17 and adults 18-49) and includes ads in People, Time, Seventeen, Teen People, Entertainment Weekly, Ladies Home Journal, Woman's Day, YM and In Style in the U.S., and Chatelaine, Canadian Living, MacLean's, TV Guide, Tribute and Flare in Canada.(1) Paramount will also be running an outdoor campaign from mid-August through September.

MAXIMUM IMPACT AT RETAIL

To help navigate consumers, Paramount has created a fleet of point-of-purchase materials to help all retail categories maximize TITANIC's in-store presence. Leading the collection are four hanging funnels, inspired by the Titanic's distinctive funnels. Engineered for ceiling or free standing display, each of the four, 3 foot tall funnels has a unique message and image, and are easily assembled. Paramount also has created two banners in two different sizes: a two- sided 75`` x 34'' duravinyl banner featuring images of the ship, the film's iconic bow image and a strong ``on video'' message, and an oversized outdoor banner. The funnels and indoor banners will have a pre-sell/teaser message and can be updated with stickers post street date to carry an ``available now'' message. Six-foot standees showing the multi-dimensional TITANICprofile cutting through ocean waves also are available. This same image is used on the product displays created, including 24-, 48- and 96-piece pre-packs. 120- and 240- piece towers feature the full ship with dimensional key art headers. Also available are buttons with a Titanic image and sell message and theatrical size posters.

PROMOTIONAL PARTNERS

Paramount and Sprint are teaming up in a unique offer wherein Sprint buys TITANIC for consumers. Consumers who switch to Sprint Long 1Distance service will receive a voucher by mail, redeemable at participating video retail locations, good for up to $22.00 off the purchase of TITANIC on videocassette (including tax). Or consumers can redeem the Sprint coupon found inside each specially marked TITANIC videocassette, switch to Sprint and receive a $22.00 rebate check by mail directly from Sprint. The offer is good in the U.S. only and valid from September 1, 1998 through February 28, 1999.

The Sprint promotion will be supported by a marketing campaign that includes national television, print and on-line advertising, direct mail and in-store promotion at over 5,000 Sprint Stores located in RadioShacks across the country. The Sprint Store marketing efforts will include in-store Sprint television spots, a direct mail campaign and a national FSI. Sprint will further promote the offer to current customers.

Max Factor is tying in TITANIC with its largest marketing campaign ever, almost three times the size of any other color launch in its history. Working with Tina Earnshaw, Oscar(R) nominated key makeup artist for TITANIC, Max Factor has created a Fall line of color cosmetics inspired by the film. With purchase of TITANIC on videocassette and $10 worth of Max Factor products, consumers will receive a soft-cover edition of the collectible companion book, James Cameron's Titanic free by mail. There is a $2.00 shipping charge. This offer is good from September 1, 1998 to December 31, 1998.

Max Factor will promote the color line and promotional offer with television and print advertising running September through December. In addition, Max Factor will be implementing a direct marketing campaign to more than nine million consumers. Max Factor is creating 60,000 in-store displays that will appear in retail locations nationwide that carry the Max Factor line of cosmetics.

STATISTICS

TITANIC broke almost all standing box-office records on its way to becoming the highest grossing film of all time. TITANIC remained number one at the box-office for an astonishing fifteen weeks and is the only film to gross more than $20 million for ten consecutive weekends. It was the fastest film to gross $250 million (36 days) and $300 million (44 days) beating Jurassic Park (37/68 days respectively), and the only film ever to gross $400 million in its initial release.

Audiences embraced TITANIC, which saw a high level of repeat business. According to the Los Angeles Times, an audience exit poll showed that one in five moviegoers had seen the film more than once. The same survey showed 72% of the repeat business were women, 64% younger than 25. Audiences of all ages contributed to the repeat business with adults older than 25 accounting for a third of all repeat business.

TITANIC, a Paramount Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox presentation of a Lightstorm Entertainment production, stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Oscar(R)-nominee Kate Winslet, who light up the screen as Jack and Rose, young lovers who find one another on the maiden voyage of the ``unsinkable'' R.M.S. Titanic. But when the doomed luxury liner collides with an iceberg in the frigid North Atlantic, their passionate love affair becomes a thrilling race for survival. The film also features Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Bernard Hill, Jonathan Hyde, Danny Nucci, Gloria Stuart, David Warner, Victor Garber and Bill Paxton. The film was written and directed by James Cameron, produced by James Cameron and Jon Landau and executive produced by Rae Sanchini.

TITANIC is rated PG-13 in the United States by the Motion Picture Association of America, has a running time of 194 minutes and is closed captioned for the hearing-impaired. It will also be available in the U.S. in a Spanish subtitled version. It is available on VHS only in both pan & scan and widescreen formats. To protect against unauthorized duplication of TITANIC, Paramount Home Video has encoded the videocassette release with the Macrovision(R) anti-copy process. TITANIC is mastered in THX for superior sound and picture quality.

Visit Paramount Home Video's web site @ www.paramount.com/homevideo to learn more about TITANIC or about many of Paramount's other classic Hollywood films, television programs, animated titles, family and special interest programming, or to download some of the latest press announcements.

Sprint is a global communications company -- at the forefront in integrating long distance, local and wireless communications services and one of the world's largest carriers of Internet traffic. Sprint built and operates the United States' only nationwide all-digital, fiber optic network and is the leader in advanced data communications services. Sprint has $15 billion in annual revenues and serves more than 16 million business and residential customers.

Max Factor, used by leading movie makeup artists, creates expert quality products so every woman can have the look of today's top actresses.

Paramount Home Video is part of the operations of Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc [AMEX:VIA - news].




PREVIOUS NEWS (5/4/98)

I spoke this afternoon with Dorrit Ragosine of Paramount Home Video, who says that the rumor about a July 28 video release date for Titanic is false. It's been reported in Billboard magazine and on Hollywood On-Line, but apparently neither bothered to confirm the information with her office. There will be a second album of music from the film, but she says that it will not coincide with any scheduled release date to home video. Dorrit says that there is no current timeline for announcing DVD titles or release dates.




PREVIOUS NEWS (4/28/98)

Here's a new article from today's issue of the Hollywood Reporter on the Paramount DVD announcement. It's got a few more details in it, and you may find it interesting.

Paramount jumps on DVD wagon; Fox, DreamWorks still out

The Hollywood Reporter - Tues., April 28, 1998

And then there were two.

Paramount Home Video has become the latest studio to adopt the open DVD platform as expected (HR 4/27).

With titles in the studio library like Forrest Gump, Top Gun, Saturday Night Fever, Grease and The Godfather and Indiana Jones trilogies, not to mention the upcoming Titanic, Paramount will add a great deal of clout to the fledgling DVD marketplace.

Paramount's decision leaves Fox and DreamWorks as the only holdouts for the next-generation digital home video platform. Both of those studios, like Paramount, Disney, Universal and MGM, have already endorsed the Divx pay-per-play variation on DVD that is expected to roll out in the summer. Warner and Sony have yet to embrace the Circuit City-backed Divx.

The studio has not yet determined which movies will be introduced on DVD, Paramount president Eric Doctorow said, or a time frame for the first releases. But the intention is to introduce all new releases on DVD simultaneously with the VHS videocassette version, he said, adding that Paramount's support "will not be a token commitment."

Divx executives have said that Paramount has the same agreement with Divx for simultaneous release of titles beginning this summer.

No release date has been set for Titanic but industry observers expect it by the late third quarter or fourth quarter. Doctorow said the studio's DVD decision was not based on the looming Titanic release.

The late entry of Paramount into the DVD market is contrary to the studio's pattern of jumping early on the bandwagons of such alternative prerecorded home video platforms as 8mm, laserdisc and even CD-i, the precursor to DVD.

Paramount also showed early support for DVD when Doctorow lined up in a show of solidarity at a press conference with executives from Warner, MGM and other studios that favored the Warner-backed technology for DVD. But since then Paramount has taken a wait-and-see attitude.

Doctorow said the approach was not related to previous experiences with other alternative platforms but rather reaching a comfort level with the viability of the platform and the creation of anti-piracy safeguards.

Now, he says, the studio is fully behind the platform. More than 300,000 DVD players have been sold to retailers and more than 3 million copies of DVD movies have been sold to consumers so far.

"It's about believing in the product," Doctorow said. "We're enthusiastic and believe that it will be an important part of our business."




4/27/98

The wait is over! Paramount has officially decided to endorse open DVD! There is no word on titles or release dates for the first Paramount DVD product, but I'd certainly expect Titanic on DVD in September or November, when it hits VHS. I've also confirmed with Paramount Home Video - it's legit! Here's their full press release...

Paramount Home Video Enters DVD Market

09:32 a.m. Apr 27, 1998 Eastern

HOLLYWOOD--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--April 27, 1998--Paramount Home Video has decided to enter the open DVD market in 1998. The announcement was made by Eric Doctorow, president, Worldwide Home Video.

"Paramount has been watching the development of the DVD market for some time and we are pleased to see it start to gain the momentum necessary for this new format to succeed," said Doctorow.

"We believe that DVD is a great product that has the chance to become a very important part of our business. Since any new home entertainment format gives us a terrific opportunity to re-promote our extraordinary library of films, we are truly enthusiastic about the possibilities that DVD presents.

"To support our entry into DVD, our goal is to release current titles day-and-date with VHS, along with a selection of library product, because we believe this will give DVD the best chance to succeed. Exact titles to be available, release dates and retail prices will be announced at a later date."

Added Doctorow: "Furthermore, we are pleased that progress continues to be made towards obtaining legislation and the creation of anti-piracy technologies that will protect our copyrights. All of these factors have led us to conclude that now is the appropriate time for our company to enter this business."

Paramount Home Video is part of the operations of Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc.

Copyright 1998, Business Wire




PREVIOUS NEWS (2/4/98)

The following is an interesting piece of information (an article from today's issue of the Hollywood Reporter), which confirms Paramount's consideration of Titanic as its first open DVD release. The article is very long, so I will present only an edited version here:

Titanic throws vid plan to sea
2/4/98 10:50 from BASELINE Inc. and The Hollywood Reporter
By Scott Hettrick


With each new weekend wave of unprecedented box-office performance by Titanic, executives at the home video divisions of Paramount and Fox are busy scrapping and refiguring their strategy for the sure-fire video juggernaut.

"One thing you can say is that Titanic isn't following any of the rules," a Paramount spokeswoman said.

There was some thought a few weeks ago about pricing the Titanic video for the rental market in spring or summer as it does not fall into the genres generally priced for sell-through: comedy, action and family.

But those thoughts have since evaporated as Titanic has become a $300 million-plus box-office phenomenon in the United States, big enough to transcend regular rental vs. sell-through formulas, as Paramount learned with its successful sell-through release of Forrest Gump in 1995.

With the nautical juggernaut showing no sign of slowing down, Titanic's video release date has been pushed back and is now indefinite. Oscar nominations and awards are expected to help keep Titanic afloat theatrically until at least late spring or early summer.

Sources at Paramount, which will distribute the title on home video domestically, and Fox, which will handle international distribution, say the studios are now targeting a sell-through release of Titanic as a double cassette no earlier than the third quarter and more likely for the fourth-quarter holiday season.

ARTICLE EDITED HERE

The double cassette also poses a potential challenge among consumers, who typically view dual cassettes as daunting. But Titanic has already proven a moldbreaker in that area as well, as its 3 hour-plus running time has not kept theatrical patrons away.

With the DVD format capable of fitting the entire movie on one disc, Paramount is also considering using Titanic as its debut DVD title, sources said. Paramount has yet to commit to the DVD format except to announce support for the pay-per-play Divx version, expected to be introduced this summer.

Paramount and Fox are also tossing out standard windows formulas with Titanic.

END OF ARTICLE

Well, as I said before... this is certainly getting interesting! Stay tuned...




PREVIOUS NEWS (12/6/97)

A few years ago, Paramount took a bath for it's support of the lackluster CD-I video disc format. One would have thought, that the studio might have learned a lesson from the experience, and would thus now be better able to pick a winning format to invest in. Unfortunately, despite this (as well as recent rumors involving the circulation of a DVD test copy of Braveheart, split over two sides), it appears that Paramount is currently the staunchest studio supporter of the Divx format. Paramount has repeatedly issued statements to the effect that Divx, with its Triple DES encryption, best addresses the studio's concerns about digital piracy.

Whether Divx succeeds or not (and most of us are convinced it will quickly go the way of the 'dodo'), Paramount stands to make out pretty well. If Divx does catch on, the studio will make millions in shared 'pay-per-view' revenues. If it fails, the open DVD market will have grown large enough in the intervening months, to ensure the success of eventual DVD releases. Either way, Paramount pockets Divx's signing bonus, recently rumored to be as much as $20 million.

The official word from Paramount? According to Dorrit Ragosine, the studio's always-kind Executive Director of Public Relations, as of 11/24, "Paramount had no plans for open DVD at this time."

Well, one can always hope.


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