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Industry Events, Product Releases Mostly on Track Despite Tragedy

21 Sep, 2001 By: Jessica Wolf

“We're pressing on,” says Pamela Godfrey, v.p. of worldwide publicity for Warner Home Video. That's the overwhelming sentiment of the video industry with few cancelled events or instances of postponed or discontinued video product in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.

The day after the attacks, studios rearranged theatrical schedules. Warner Bros. bumped the release of Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest, Collateral Damage, by at least a year, and Touchstone Pictures postponed Tim Allen's Big Trouble.

On the video side, Columbia TriStar recalled cassettes and DVDs of A Knight's Tale to remove trailers for Spider-Man, which included a scene showing Spider-man capturing a helicopter in a web between the two towers of the now-collapsed World Trade Center.

Other than the Spider-Man trailer, video product solicitation windows have remained relatively unaffected. Representatives from the major studios say they are releasing product as scheduled, though Lions Gate Home Entertainment has postponed the release of the title Fire Trap, originally scheduled to street Dec. 25.

“The artwork and title we thought were inappropriate at this time,” says Lions Gate spokesman Scott Hayman. It wasn't because of “content issues,” he says.

The National Association of Recording Merchandisers fall conference, originally scheduled for Sept. 12-14 in Bal Harbour, Fla., was cancelled almost immediately after the attacks occurred.

At press time, other events, including VSDA chapter events across the country, the Waxworks convention next week in Kentucky and the East Coast Video were scheduled to go on.

The NARM conference will not be rescheduled, says Jim Donio, executive v.p. Some retailers from the group's advisory board and distributors were already on hand the day of the attacks, just before the conference was set to begin, and agreed that to push the date back would move too far into the fourth quarter “which is an extremely busy time in the retail community,” Donio says. NARM is looking into distributing among its members some of the musical performances and keynote speeches that would have occurred at the conference two weeks ago, Donio adds.

Kelli Warren, director of public relations for the Video Software Dealers Association, says although show planners at Advanstar Communications, the company that also owns Video Store Magazine, are closely watching and analyzing the market, the East Coast Video Show will most likely go on as usual.

“It's more of a regional show,” Warren says. “Most attendees drive in or take the train, so travel issues may not pose as much of a problem.”

Carrie Dieterich, v.p. of publicity for the VSDA, says retailers have been asking if the event is still on, which shows people are still interested in attending. Show planners and others within the industry say they understand business may not be the most important thing on retailers' minds, especially with the Atlantic City locale's close proximity to the attacks.

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