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It's Not All Shrek and Spidey; Holidays Gift Several Sleepers

10 Dec, 2004 By: Jessica Wolf

Napoleon will rule, and a lovely garden will bloom this fourth quarter, retailers predict.

The theatrical sleepers Napoleon Dynamite and Garden State will capitalize on box office buzz and be among the biggest sleeper renters and sellers of the holiday season, retailers said, even though they hit late in the quarter. The titles street from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Dec. 21 and Dec. 28, respectively.

Marc Oringer, general manager for five-store New York City-based Champagne Video, predicted Napoleon Dynamite will be the No. 1 sleeper of the holiday season.

“We'll do better on that than we will on The Terminal,” agreed Larry Mansdorf, buyer for 25-store Newbury Comics chain, headquartered in Boston.

It's a no-brainer to bank on how well Napoleon and Garden State will do on DVD, said Todd Zaganiacz, president of the National Entertainment Buying Group. “December's a big month, and you don't want to underbuy on those titles,” he said.

Other sleepers that should do well, Oringer said, are the Clive Owen starrer I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (Paramount Home Entertainment, streeted Nov. 16), Holy Land (Hart Sharp Video, streeted Sept. 7), Young Adam (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, streeted Sept. 14) and the foreign film Maria Full of Grace (HBO, streeted Dec. 7).

Retailers also named Universal Studios Home Entertainment's Tom Cruise-Jamie Foxx pairing Collateral, which streets Dec. 14; and Paramount's The Manchurian Candidate, which streets Dec. 21, as potential sleepers.

“I think another great sleeper title for us is going to be Shaun of the Dead (Universal, Dec. 21),” said Dave Bleiler, video buyer for Philadelphia-based TLA Video. “It's a terrific little comic horror film.”

Warner Home Video's Before Sunset is outperforming rental expectations, he said.“But the biggest hit we've had in the last two months on rental is The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Universal),” he added. “It's been out for nine weeks, and it's still in our top 10.”

One title that's not likely to reach sleeper status this holiday season, Zaganiacz said, is DreamWorks' Surviving Christmas, which hits video Dec. 21, after just two months of a disappointing theatrical run.

“I can understand the reason they rushed it out,” he said. “A year from now, no one is going to remember that movie. But with holiday-themed windows, it's hard to capitalize on it in four days.”

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