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Lions Gate Invites Home Viewers to <i>Monster's Ball</I> in June

25 Mar, 2002 By: Joan Villa

Monster's Ball will arrive on video June 11 from Lions Gate Home Entertainment, capitalizing on the historic Academy Award win for Halle Berry as best actress – the first time ever for an African American woman in the leading role.

Berry's acceptance speech created the 74th Awards' most emotional moments when she said between sobs that her Oscar really honored predecessors Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne and Diahann Carroll…"and the nameless, faceless women of color who now stand a chance tonight because the door has been opened."

Monster's Ball will be priced at $24.99 for the DVD and "below $40" for the VHS rental as part of Lions Gate's flat price program.

"We want people to talk about the film and the performance, not about what the pricing program is," explained Ron Schwartz, EVP North American home video, who declined to project the title's sales performance. "We expect this to be the biggest title we have ever handled."

The DVD version will be "loaded" with extras, Schwartz said, including director and star commentary from Berry and co-star Billy Bob Thornton, deleted scenes, outtakes and "making of" extras.

"Unlike a lot of our competitors, we're not going to put out a product for the first bite of the apple and come back in three months with a full version," Schwartz said.

The studio is also developing point-of-purchase materials that will include posters, shelftalkers, and possibly standee merchandisers. Television, print and radio advertising is also in the works.

"We think we have a destination title and we want people in stores," Schwartz added. "In the same way the theatrical campaign has been consistent and steady, we want the same message delivered letting people know it's available for rent [on VHS] and purchase on DVD."

Other Oscar winners in stores:

Training Day, for which Denzel Washington picked up the best actor award;
Moulin Rouge, nominated for eight Oscars, won for art direction and costume design;
Shrek (animated feature film); and
Pearl Harbor (sound effects editing)
Oscar winners in the home video pipeline:
No Man's Land (foreign film), Apr. 9;
Black Hawk Down (sound, editing), expected June 11
Monster's Ball (actress), June 11
A Beautiful Mind (picture, director, supporting actress, adapted screenplay), late June
Gosford Park (original screenplay), late June
Lord of the Rings (cinematography, makeup, score, visual effects), expected in August
Monsters, Inc. (song), Sept. 17

TK Arnold contributed to this report.

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