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<I>Scarface, 2 Fast 2 Furious</I> DVDs Have Synergistic Appeal

8 Oct, 2003 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The Sept. 30 DVD releases of Scarface and 2 Fast 2 Furious from Universal Studios Home Video (USHV) have done more than leave their marks on retail. They've connected disparate communities of filmgoers, according to USHV officials.

With 3.5 million in first-week unit sales and combined with DVD/VHS rentals, 2 Fast 2 Furious has garnered more than $65 million in revenue.

To date, the franchise (including prequel The Fast and the Furious) has earned more than $280 million in home entertainment revenue, exceeding by $8.4 million its theatrical run.

The sequel, directed by John Singleton, again stars Paul Walker, with an ensemble cast that includes Tyrese, Cole Hauser, James Remar and Eva Mendes.

2 Fast 2 Furious is an amazing franchise,” said USHV president Craig Kornblau, referring to the urban hip-hop community, which USHV approached to help promote both DVD releases at premieres in New York and the DJ Power Summit in Puerto Rico.

“Like Scarface, [2 Fast 2 Furious] appeals to the urban demographic. That was the magic of putting the two titles on same [release] date, and one is driving the other,” he said.

The Scarface Two-Disc Anniversary Edition and Scarface Deluxe Gift Set have combined to sell 2 million DVD units in the first week.

“People would kill to have $100 million movies do that kind of volume,” said Kornblau. “It's just fantastic.”

Kornblau credits the film's theatrical re-release 11 days prior to the DVD launch for igniting consumer interest.

Set in the drug underworld of Miami during the 1980s, Scarface stars Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer, among others, and was directed by Brian De Palma. The film generated an opening weekend per-screen average of $19,892, larger than comparable re-releases of Star Wars, Casablanca, Grease, and The Exorcist.

“This is a title that only did [$44.7 million] at the box office [in 1983],” Kornblau said. “It was panned by the critics. It's 20 years old, and look at the impact that it has had on our culture.”

Rappers Jay-Z and Ludacris separately hosted the Scarface and 2 Fast 2 Furious events. And USHV worked with record label Def Jam to create a 20-minute documentary in which rappers talk about the impact Scarface has had on their lives and music.

“We really connected with that core audience,” Kornblau said. “And we were able to expand beyond that core.”

Asked what other notable titles in the Universal archive await a renaissance on DVD, Kornblau didn't hesitate to answer.

“It's fair to say that the one big title in our vault that hasn't been out on DVD is Schindler's List,” he said. “It's coming in 2004.”

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