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Fox Gives ‘M*A*S*H' Five-Star Treatment

21 Sep, 2001 By: John Jimenez

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is continuing its Five-Star DVD collection with the sixth installment, M*A*S*H, the 1970 Korean War film that served as a social commentary on the conflict in Vietnam. The film makes its first trip to DVD as a two-disc offering Jan. 8 (prebook Dec. 12) at $26.98, and comes out the same day on special edition VHS at $9.98.

M*A*S*H has been released on VHS, but only as an edited, ‘PG' version. The film is rated ‘R.'

“This is a serious film, a black comedy,” says Fox's senior v.p. of marketing Peter Staddon. “The packaging is going to make it very clear it's not a family-friendly comedy.”

The Five-Star Collection, which began with Independence Day in June 2000, is an Fox's ongoing commitment to release three or four catalog titles a year jam-packed with extras.

“We're trying to really set the bar as high as we can for our Five-Star Collection,” Staddon says. “We have to get it right.”

M*A*S*H contains the widescreen version of the film, a commentary by director Robert Altman, a the 15-minute “AMC Backstory,” a stills gallery and a theatrical trailer on disc one. Disc two contains the documentaries "Enlisted: The Story of M*A*S*H," a look behind the scenes, and "M*A*S*H*: History Through the Lens." It also has a film restoration segment, a M*A*S*H reunion and a hidden Easter egg, a Portuguese trailer.

One important factor, Staddon says, is that Altman was very involved with the creation of the DVD.

The special edition VHS will have the ‘R' version of the film and the “AMC Backstory.”

Fox is also releasing season one of the “M*A*S*H” television series, spawned by the film, which Staddon says is tailored more for laughs than the movie. Season One also streets Jan. 8 (prebook Dec. 12) at $39.98 on DVD. The VHS price hasn't been set yet. All 24 television episodes will be uncut and unedited.

The marketing strategy hasn't been finalized, but Staddon says there will be a strong advertising and in-store campaign. Also, there will be synergy between the marketing of the movie and the television series.

“We will make a specific effort to direct people to the Five-Star DVD,” he says.

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