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Lionsgate Drives 'Crash' DVD to Awards Success

2 Feb, 2006 By: Kurt Indvik



Lionsgate's Crash is the only film nominated for a best picture Oscar out on DVD, and the studio credits the disc with giving it an awards boost.

The challenging film about race relations hit theaters back in May 2005. It generated $54 million in domestic box office receipts and arrived on DVD Sept. 6, where it rented well and sold 3.8 million units, according to the studio.

Crash earned six Oscar nominations this week, including best picture, best director (Paul Haggis), best supporting actor (Matt Dillon), best original screenplay, best original song and best editing.

“We took advantage of the unique position we were in as the only leading best picture award contending film that happened to already be out on DVD,” said Tom Ortenberg, president of Lionsgate Theatrical Films.

With no fear of screener piracy, Lionsgate leveraged the fall DVD release of Crash in conjunction with its awards season marketing campaign to ensure anyone with the potential to vote in any of the major awards contests could see it.

Part of that included sending out 130,000 DVD screeners to critics groups and guild members, including all 100,000 Screen Actors Guild members. Crash was a top renter for several weeks, and its strength in sales rose as buzz of the film's awards prospects grew. The film's talent has been visible throughout the marketing season, and Oprah Winfrey spent a full hour on one of her TV shows in October focusing on the movie and the issues it raises.

The results have been dozens of nominations for Golden Globe, SAG, Directors Guild of America, Image and many other regional and professional society awards. Among other notable wins, there was a SAG victory for the ensemble cast.

“We always figured that if we could get awards season voters to see the picture, good things would happen,” Ortenberg said. “Crash affects people in a way few movies have in the past several years. They remember it, no matter how long ago they may have seen it.”

There are no plans to have Crash make another limited theatrical run during the awards season, as many of the other best picture nominees are, Ortenberg said. But expect a special edition DVD of the film sometime in early spring, a spokesperson said.

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