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Clones To Attack Nov. 12

1 Aug, 2002 By: John Gaudiosi

Backed by a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign, Lucasfilm Ltd. and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will unleash Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones to North American retailers on special-edition DVD ($29.98) and VHS ($24.98) Nov. 12.

"We set the bar pretty high with the Episode I DVD, and we want to carry the momentum that we've built with this second DVD release, which marks the first time that a live-action feature shot digitally will be transferred to the digital medium," Lucasfilm vp marketing Jim Ward said. "With the compression and authoring that it has undergone, the film looks amazing on DVD."

The two-disc Episode II DVD, which will be available in both full-screen and anamorphic widescreen versions, will incorporate more than six hours of additional materials.

Disc 1, which will offer Dolby 5.1 Surround EX, will include feature-length commentary from writer-director George Lucas, producer Rick McCallum, sound designer Ben Burtt, Industrial Light + Magic animation director Rob Coleman and ILM visual effects supervisors Pablo Helman, John Knoll and Ben Snow.

The second disc is loaded with extras. As it did with the Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace disc, ILM went back and finished the special effects in eight deleted scenes and included them on the DVD. Additional content includes three featurettes, a 12-part Web documentary series, theatrical trailers, 12 TV spots, the Fox TV "R2-D2: Beneath the Dome" mockumentary, a visual effects breakdown montage, an exclusive production photo gallery and the "Across the Stars" music video featuring John Williams.

"We had such great response from the 'The Beginning' documentary on the Episode I DVD that we've included three documentaries on Episode II, " Ward said. " 'From Puppets to Pixels' follows the entire process of Yoda from puppet to full CGI character as well as showing fans how digital stunt doubles were incorporated into the film. 'State of the Art: The Previsualization of Episode II' explores how entire scenes can be created from scratch. George thought of the idea of the droid factory sequence a year after principal photography wrapped, then enlisted ILM to bring the scene to life out of virtually nothing. The third documentary, 'Films Are Not Released; They Escape,' delves into the sound process for the making of the film."

The special-edition VHS will include six selected deleted scenes and a "Star Wars: Connections" featurette hosted by R2-D2 and C-3PO, who explain the Star Wars story to new fans.

Lucasfilm and Fox will target core Star Wars fans, families and kids with its marketing campaign, Ward said. Such licensees as Hasbro and Lego will work with Lucasfilm and Fox to cross-promote Episode II products with the DVD and video release, which is expected to compete with Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment's Nov. 1 release of the Spider-Man DVD and home video.

In addition to providing its own marketing support for its Episode II-based video games, sister company LucasArts Entertainment will draft off the home video and DVD release's marketing campaign. LucasArts will ship the action game Star Wars: The Clone Wars for PlayStation 2 and GameCube on Sept. 24 and Star Wars: Bounty Hunter for PlayStation 2 and GameCube on Nov. 15. Both video games are set within the Episode II universe and extend the story beyond the film's scope.

With more than 100 million copies sold worldwide to date, the Star Wars series is the best-selling home entertainment franchise. While consumers had to wait 18 months between the April 4, 2000, release of the Episode I VHS and the Oct. 16, 2001, release of the DVD (which came three years after the film's theatrical run), this time consumers will have a much shorter wait and three choices at retail. The Episode I DVD ranked eighth in DVD sales last year, selling more than 4.2 million units in 2 1/2 months and generating $96 million in revenue. Episode I, which marked the debut of the Star Wars franchise on DVD, sold 2.2 million units and raked in $45 million in revenue in its first week. Combined sales for the Episode I DVD and VHS topped 18 million units worldwide.

Lucasfilm and Fox will release the remaining Star Wars films sequentially, which means the original trilogy will not be released on DVD until after Episode III is released on DVD.

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