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We've Been Riding a Franchise Wave That's About to Crest and Subside

16 Dec, 2003 By: Stephanie Prange

Besides the fantastic growth of DVD, the past few years have also afforded our business some great movie franchises and the marketing machines that go with them.

Warner's “Matrix” trilogy has made it way through theaters with the last of the series due soon on video. The Return of the King, the final installment in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, debuts in theaters tomorrow to great fanfare, wrapping up that lucrative series for New Line. The home entertainment division will likely unveil the final title in the series in theatrical cuts than follow with extended edition debuts -- a strategy similar to that for the first two installments in the film trio.

Warner's “Harry Potter” series, too, will undergo a change as the kids possibly grow out of their roles, the elaborate timing of the books and movies falters and the children who grew up on the books move on to more adult fare. Hopefully, the series will hold its fascination, but, like any, it's likely to fade at some point.

These franchises contributed to a “perfect storm” of the good kind in marketing DVDs. As the new theatrical hits came out, the DVDs of previous titles got a lift. The franchises also spawned games and, in the case of the “Matrix,” a collection of short subjects called The Animatrix.

It's going to be hard to match the success of these franchises, which has lifted the video business to new heights as DVD took off. Certainly, the format has developed a momentum of its own, buoyed by classics and other fare, but these driving franchises will be missed.

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