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THE MORNING BUZZ: Making A List for Christmas in July -- Or Even Sooner

7 Mar, 2002 By: Kurt Indvik

Ah, Christmas in July. Always music to a retailer's ears. In the home video realm, Christmas this year will actually kick off in May and pretty much extend into the fall holiday selling season without a hitch.

As I noted in this column last November, when Harry Potterplanted his home video flag all else would become clear. And so it has, as Monsters Inc. has now separated itself from the summer frenzy surrounding the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone May 28 video debut (along with a considerable slate of other major movies, but more on that in a minute) and selected the more sedate post-back-to-school, pre-holiday sales period to make its considerable mark Sept. 17. And of course, Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring lurks offstage somewhere for a probable July/August appearance. (Some say look for a "vanilla" DVD version first followed by a collector's DVD(s) edition released in November in advance of the second movie and in time for the holidays.)

So, Harry will launch us into one of the busiest summers anticipated in some years, Frodo will give the dog days of summer a fresh breeze and Sully will take us into the holiday sales period with a roar. Top it off with DVD's continued huge push into U.S. households this year and it gives me the shivers just thinking about the second half of this year.

The Memorial Day period is indeed shaping up as another major holiday selling season, as Ralph Tribbey, Video Store Magazine contributing editor and editor of the DVD Release Report, said in his Feb. 27 issue. Again, in the Memorial Day weekend period Harry Potter is the black hole into which all video revenues disappear, certainly any family video revenues, which is why the new theatrical titles anticipated for launch around that time frame, with the exception of Disney's Snow Dogs (May 21) and Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius (late June perhaps?) are more adult fare. Here's an anticipated slate of just some of the $40+ million in theatrical titles planned for May and June. Mix into these some strong catalog promotions many of the studios plan for the same time frame, not to mention other strong performers such as I am Sam, Orange County, John Q., Mothman Prophecies, and these two months could get very hot indeed.

Ocean's Eleven (May 7)
The Others (May 14)
Snow Dogs (May 21)
Vanilla Sky (May 21)
Harry Potter (May 28)

Shallow Hal (June 4) )
A Beautiful Mind (not announced)
Black Hawk Down (na)
The Royal Tenenbaums (na)
Kate & Leopold (na)

I am a list person and this is some list. It's an early Christmas present to video retailers everywhere, so make sure to make your list and check it twice.

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