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A Founding Father's Day

25 Mar, 2008 By: John Latchem

John Adams

The buzz surrounding the HBO miniseries John Adams is so great that apparently HBO Video was compelled to announce the DVD release while the show was still running on TV.

John Adams, starring Paul Giamatti as the founding father and second U.S. president, streets June 10 (prebook May 6) as a three-DVD set at $59.99. Other stars include Laura Linney as Abigail Adams, Tom Wilkinson as Benjamin Franklin and David Morse as George Washington.

According to Sofia Chang, SVP of marketing for HBO Video, the DVD's release is timed to coincide with not only Father's Day but also Independence Day, which also happens to be the anniversary of Adams' death (he died on July 4, 1826).

Chang said HBO Video intends to capitalize on exposure of the miniseries, which benefited from several promotional campaigns, including a tie-in with the U.S. Postal Service. The seven-part epic, based on historian David McCullough's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Adams, premiered to high ratings March 16 on HBO and on-demand.

Chang thinks the extras crafted for the DVD should go a long way in enticing viewers to pick up the home video version.

The John Adams DVD includes a new documentary about McCullough and his writing style, “Painting With Words,” which airs on HBO May 28; a behind-the-scenes featurette; and a pop-up trivia guide, “Facts Are Stubborn Things,” presenting historical tidbits throughout the seven episodes.

“It should enhance the viewer's experience and provide more information about that time period,” Chang said.

The miniseries, which runs through April 20, is co-executive produced by Tom Hanks, who previously produced Emmy winners From the Earth to the Moon and Band of Brothers for HBO.

John Adams certainly has as great a potential for DVD sales as those other titles, especially considering the creative talent involved,” Chang said.

Band of Brothers is No. 6 on the all-time TV DVD top-sellers list in terms of units sold, and No. 4 in the season-set category, according to Nielsen VideoScan, and is among the top TV DVD revenue generators as well. Chang said a Blu-ray version of Band of Brothers is in the works for later this year.

Hoping to cash in on the success of HBO's miniseries, Acorn Media May 13 (prebook April 15) releases The Adams Chronicles as a four-DVD set at $59.99.The 13-part PBS miniseries, produced in 1976, explores four generations of the Adams family. George Grizzard plays John Adams, second U.S. president, with David Birney and William Daniels playing sixth president John Quincy Adams at different ages.

The DVD set includes a 12-page guide featuring articles by C. James Taylor, editor in chief of the Adams Papers, and Neil Horstman, president of the White House Historical Association.

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