‘Ella Enchanted' Gets Second Chance on DVD27 Jul, 2004 By: Fred Topel
Ella Enchanted, a fairy tale fantasy starring Anne Hathaway, only made about $22 million theatrically, but director Tommy O'Haver expects the film to have more success on DVD when it streets Aug. 24 (DVD $29.99, VHS $24.99).
The Miramax film will be released by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, which has more experience targeting family audiences. One example O'Haver gave was the performance of Tuck Everlasting on video, compared to a modest theatrical run.
“It just shows that actually for this young audience, DVD is incredibly important,” O'Haver said. “In talking to Miramax, I think they're very confident that this is an evergreen title for them. They think it's going to find even more of its audience on DVD. In fact, that's what happened with The Princess Bride. Although The Princess Bride did a little bit better than us in its initial box office, when you look at it relatively, it still wasn't what you would consider a huge box office success at the time. It really started to find its audience on video. That's where, more than anything, it became the classic that it is. So, I think we hope that maybe a little bit of that will rub off on us.”
The DVD will feature deleted scenes and commentary for the fans who want to go behind the scenes. The deleted scenes feature more of the film's anachronistic humor, modern jokes put in the context of medieval times. Most notable may be the extra scenes with the evil stepmother (Joanna Lumley) and stepsisters, and another with Prince Char (Hugh Dancy).
“There's a great scene in the carriage with Joanna Lumley and the two evil stepsisters,” he said. “Right before they arrive, you get a little more backstory from them. Hattie's (Lucy Punch) taking a quiz in Medieval Teen magazine, ‘Are You Right For Prince Char?' It was really a cute little scene. There's also a longer version of the scene with Heston [the snake], Edgar (Cary Elwes) and Prince Char in the carriage. That also includes some more teeny bopper jokes because Prince Char is reading a copy of Damsel Zone and reading an article about himself being seen hunting half- naked in the forest.”
Deleted scenes are often omitted for the pacing of the story, but O'Haver feels some of the omissions should have remained in the film. Other deleted jokes were also considered too adult to be on a children's DVD.
“I think the movie got a lot shorter and a lot tighter, which I think is good in some ways, but always when you work with a studio and you're having to fight back and forth, you have to pick your battles,” he said. “There are certain things that you want to keep, but certain things that you give up to them. There are two or three things that I think, ‘I so wish we could put that back in.' But that's the way it works when you're making movies like this.”
The commentary track features O'Haver, Hathaway and Dancy. O'Haver had not heard the final cut of the track.
“I think it was a bit irreverent, and I'm sure they had to cut out most of the really good stuff,” he said.