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DVD News Abounds at Licensing Show

30 Jun, 2006 By: Anne Sherber

Brittany Murphy

NEW YORK — When Tinker Bell debuts on DVD in fall 2007, the Walt Disney Co. expects the heretofore silent fairy to make some noise.

Richard Cook, chair of Walt Disney Studios, revealed Disney's new focus on the “Fairies” franchise at Licensing 2006 International, held here June 20-22. Joining Cook was actress Brittany Murphy, who will be the voice of Tinker Bell.

Andy Mooney, chair of the Disney consumer products division, said 4% of all products sold at Disney Parks and Resorts are Tinker Bell products. Because the brand-builders at Disney are confident in her value, Tinker Bell's budding movie career has been mapped out for the next five years and beyond. Tinker Bell and friends will star in a series of direct-to-DVD films, already in production, to be released one per year.

The company also will release Enchanted Tales — Kingdom of Kindness, a direct-to-DVD title that will be a compilation of new tales starring the Disney princesses and will include the first new Aurora story since Sleeping Beauty.

In other DVD news, Olivier Gers, EVP of Fremantle Media Licensing Worldwide, said “Baywatch,” which has been out of the public eye for seven years, is ripe for merchandising. Beginning with the Oct. 3 DVD release of seasons one and two and in preparation for the summer 2007 “Baywatch” movie, the company will be promoting all things “Baywatch.” Gers said Pamela Anderson will support the DVD releases, and the company also plans Best of Pamela and Best of David collections. First Look Studios will distribute the DVDs.

Fremantle Home Entertainment SVP Pete Kalhan said the company is close to signing a DVD distribution deal for “Prehistoric Park,” produced by the same team that produced TV's computer-generated Walking With Dinosaurs. The series centers on a natural-history expert who travels back in time to rescue some of the now-extinct animals that once roamed the earth. Each episode will feature a different prehistoric predicament. DVD extras will include making-of featurettes and quizzes.

As for “American Idol,” the entertainment juggernaut that Fremantle produces, Kalhan said American Idol: The Best and Worst of Seasons 1-4, released last year, sold between 250,000 and 300,000 units. He noted interactive DVD games based on the show have done even better because fans of the show “want to put themselves in the shoes of the contestants.” He added there will be a DVD of season five.

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