Thursday, March 30, 2006
Kong DVD has lots of stuff on it
From USATODAY, "Peter Jackson's remake of the 1933 classic cost $207 million and took in more than $217.9 million in North American theaters, but Kong did not scale the heights that box-office prognosticators had expected. It ended up the fifth-highest-grossing film of the year; No. 1 was Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, with $380 million. (Related story: Can't get enough Kong?)
Tuesday, Kong faces another test: How mighty it will be on DVD.
The power of blockbuster movies on DVD appears to be waning. In 2004, the 20 top-selling DVDs made 72% more than they did in theaters, according to Video Business Research. That dropped to 39% for the top 20 top sellers of 2005.
To compare individual titles, 2004's No. 1 title, Shrek 2, has sold more than 18 million copies vs. 15.5 million for 2005's top DVD, The Incredibles, says Video Business Research.
"The top titles today sell many fewer copies than they did five or six years ago," says Paul Sweeting, editor at large for Video Business trade magazine. "The days of selling 20 million copies of something is probably gone."
Sweeting says he expects Kong to sell 8 million to 10 million copies on DVD, matching and perhaps surpassing its U.S. ticket sales. Universal is putting the DVD out in two versions: a $30 single disc with just the film, and a $31 two-disc version with three hours of bonus features. (At retail, the two-disc edition is selling for $20-$23, the single-disc version for $14-$16.)
"Kong might very well do better on DVD," says Dan Vancini, DVD editor for Amazon.com, where both Kong DVDs have been among the top sellers for the past week. "Everyone in the industry will be watching it closely" to see if it's an indication of changing movie-viewing habits.
Says Michael Regina, editor in chief of Kongisking.net: "Like George Lucas said, there's not going to be anything like the blockbusters anymore because there are so many outlets to get entertainment. It's a lot more diverse and it's hard to get everybody in the seats. They say, 'I'll wait for the DVD or download it.' "
In fact, Kong will be among the first movies available for download purchase on Universal's new on-demand service launching next month in the United Kingdom.
Regardless of Kong's reception, Jackson says he is satisfied with his film. "The King Kong I made is the King Kong I wanted to see," he says. "You set out to make a film you want to see yourself and you hope people share your sensibility."
Secret stuff yet to come
Movie fans will have several opportunities to go bananas over King Kong this year.
The two-disc collector's edition out today (Universal, $31) has nearly three hours of video diaries, plus features on Kong's home, Skull Island, and New York in the '30s.
But you won't see any deleted scenes or added footage. Director Peter Jackson is saving that for an extended cut of the film to be released on DVD later this year and will include a new making-of documentary.
"In the production diaries we showed a certain amount, but the real secret stuff is for later on," he says. "There are sequences that we ended up taking out for pacing and length."
Jackson's next project takes him from Skull Island to bones. He'll direct the movie version of the best seller The Lovely Bones."