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<I>Old School</I> Unrated Disc in Class by Itself

11 May, 2003 By: Joan Villa

The June 10 release of Old School will do justice to summer vacation with rated and unrated DVD and VHS versions designed to play off the $73 million box office comedy's raucous humor.

The unrated version adds bonus footage that takes the film's “outlandish” humor “to a new level,” according to Kelly Sooter, domestic head of DreamWorks Home Entertainment. “The cast's involvement with developing all-new programming exclusively for the DVD has been instrumental in producing bonus features that create even greater demand for this title,” she added.

In fact, actors Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Luke Wilson and director Todd Phillips provided “unprecedented” access and bonus material to create two separate versions that each stand on their own, according to DVD producer Mark Rowen.

Each version contains commentary from the director and three lead actors recalling on-set antics, never-before-seen deleted and extended scenes, an Old School “orientation” that takes viewers behind the scenes to the making of the movie, and the specially created skit “Inside the Actors Studio Spoof” with Ferrell reprising his “Saturday Night Live” role as host James Lipton interviewing the cast.

“It's not the typical interview with the actor talking about the film, but with Will doing James Lipton, which is one of the funniest characters he does,” Rowen said. In the spoof, Ferrell interviews himself as well as the other actors.

The unrated disc takes the comedy further, with an extended version of the film, including extra footage and an exclusive blooper reel complete with bawdy outtakes. The DVD is $19.95, while the VHS is priced for rental and prebooks May 20.

“What we look to do on our end is create the best disc possible for each version, so it's not even a matter of rated or unrated selling better,” Rowen said. “I do think with either disc you have a great experience.”

The extra features and menu treatments were also a collaborative process with Phillips and executive producers Ivan Reitman and Tom Pollock, the team behind Road Trip, Rowen said.

As DVD features serve to document the filmmaking experience, more entertainers and even cast and crew are eager to contribute to the process, despite the fact that commentaries and other features are often recorded long after filming ends and the stars have moved on to other projects, Rowen said.

“Production designers, costumers and make-up artists are doing a great job of archiving their materials because they recognize there's another life form for their sketches, storyboards, production designs, photos -- things that up until now would have gotten archived, someone would have taken home or would have ended up in the trash,” he said. “Now, people realize that DVD is a medium that is an entertainment device as well as a historical record of the film.”

Old School's June release is timed to take advantage of both Father's Day and the graduation gift-giving season, with marketing targeting a broad audience with radio promotions and national ads during TV programs such as “Fear Factor,” “The Bachelor,” “Will & Grace,” “Alias,” “24” and “Oliver Beene,” DreamWorks said.

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