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Anniversaries Are Golden on DVD

5 May, 2005 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Hollywood has come down with a bad case of anniversary fever. With DVD players now in most U.S. households and a next-generation format likely to launch as early as this fall, studios are pumping out “anniversary” DVDs at a breakneck clip.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment has just announced a 15th anniversary edition of Pretty Woman (Sept. 6, $19.99) that includes the same bonus features as the 10th anniversary DVD, plus a blooper reel. Also in the Disney pipeline: a 15th anniversary DVD of Father of the Bride (June 7, $19.99) and a 10th anniversary DVD of Toy Story (Sept. 6, $29.99) that includes a new documentary, “The Legacy of Toy Story,” in which prominent filmmakers discuss the importance of the pioneering computer-animated movie.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment is readying a 30th anniversary edition of Jaws and a 10th anniversary edition of Casino, both hitting stores June 14 at $22.98. Further out are The Jerk 26th Anniversary Edition, July 26 at $19.98, and Blues Brothers 25th Anniversary Edition, coming in August at a not-yet-determined price.

Indies also are getting into the game. Lions Gate Home Entertainment June 7 will release a 10th anniversary special edition DVD of Swimming With Sharks that includes plenty of extras, including a commentary with Kevin Spacey and a documentary on life as a Hollywood assistant.

Hart Sharp Video is preparing a 50th anniversary DVD of The Man With the Golden Arm for release sometime in the fourth quarter. The classic Otto Preminger drama, based on a novel by Nelson Algren, garnered Frank Sinatra a best actor Oscar nod for his portrayal of a recovering heroin addict trying to build a new life after his release from jail.

“Anniversaries present a unique opportunity for catalog films to be revisited,” said Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment marketing communications SVP Steve Feldstein, whose company is eyeing anniversary DVDs later this year of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (30th), The Sound of Music (40th), Oklahoma! (50th) and State Fair (60th).

Feldstein notes that while many of these films already have been released on DVD, “there are a lot more DVD households out there today than there were the last time around.”

Analyst Tom Adams, president of Adams Media Research, projects that by the end of this year, 84 million U.S. households will have at least one dedicated set-top DVD player, up from a mere 13 million at the end of 2000, the last five-year increment “anniversary” year for the current crop of anniversary DVDs.

“So you're looking at roughly 70 million additional DVD homes to market them to,” he said. “On top of that, any title that got the anniversary treatment in 2000 was mainly sold on VHS. While the average VHS household bought maybe six or seven movies a year, the average DVD household buys 15 or 16.”

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