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Unrated Moniker is Money in the Bank for Some Titles

29 Jun, 2003 By: Kurt Indvik

It's funny how the DVD has evolved to become a multiple-personality marketing vehicle for the unvarnished version of a film, and how that has become such a major sales point for, I think, mostly, teen consumers.

This week's cover story in Video Store Magazine by Jessica Wolf on the sales comparison between a film's “uncensored” “unrated” “unedited” “director's cut” version and its theatrical version is a graphic picture (no pun intended) of just how much younger viewers want to see all that was on the cutting room floor.

These are media-savvy consumers, and they know that, often as not, that celluloid on the floor is what made the difference between what garnered a “PG-13” theatrical rating as opposed to an “R”; an “R” rating as opposed to an “NC-17.” And yet, when it comes to home video, studios have the luxury of offering both versions, if they so choose, and it seems that for certain genres targeting certain demographic groups, it's a slam dunk as to which version consumers would rather buy. Check out the chart on page 8 of this week's issue that shows some of the most successful unrated sellers over the past couple of years.)

Witness, (should we be surprised?) the success of Old School: Unrated and Out of Control DVD, which tops VSM's top selling DVDs chart this week. It's just the most recent example of what we can only expect to be a continuing trend in marketing these types of movies, geared mostly to hormonal-frenzied youth, in the home video market.

But this also extends to the whole concept of deleted scene extras on DVD, and why they are such an important part of the selling point of this platform. Indeed, if you read the interview in this week's issue with McG, director of Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, he's already promising plenty of deleted scenes from the movie that either had too much violence and gore, or sexual content, to make it into the “PG-13” rated movie. These are, in effect, de facto “unrated” versions of the film without editing them back into linear form. You just get all the juicy stuff out of context, but hey, who cares about context here. We're talking flesh and gore, and that sells anyway you can package it.

Of course, on the retail side, Old School: Unrated and Out of Control may never see the light of day at Wal-Mart or some supermarket checkout stands, but that's a conscious decision studios have to make it seeking to appeal to a certain demographic that doesn't usually hang out there anyway.

Now how about this idea? The Sound of Music: Uncut and Out of Tune? Now that has a chance in Wal-Mart.

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