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‘Matrix' Special Edition DVD Timed Just Prior to ‘Reloaded'

29 Jan, 2003 By: Jessica Wolf

What is The Matrix?

Well, for one thing, it's one of the bestselling DVD releases in the history of the format and the first DVD to break the million-unit sales mark.

And now, with teasers for The Matrix Reloaded theatrical release beginning to pepper moviegoers, Warner Home Video has reloaded its quintessential DVD title for another Matrix-led assault on home video. The Matrix Special Edition two-disc set arrives April 29, two weeks before Reloaded hits theaters. The set is priced at $27.95 ($19.95 MAP.) Prebook deadline is April 1; merchandiser orders are due March 25.

This new DVD release includes the first Matrix movie as well as all of the special features from that original DVD. It also has the documentary “The Matrix Revisited” and its extras, and adds new content, including an exclusive behind-the-scenes preview of The Matrix Reloaded, two episodes from the upcoming The Animatrix, the Marilyn Manson music video “Rock Is Dead,” and a teaser for the new Enter the Matrix video game called “What Is the Game?”

The non-snapper packaging has gotten a Matrix-worthy makeover with a cool prismatic foil effect meant to make the title stand out at retail, said Michael Radiloff, VP of DVD marketing for Warner. And, included in every disc is a free redeemable-by-mail coupon for a ticket to see The Matrix Reloaded, which hits theaters May 15.

“People are going to want to see the movie all over again before they see the sequel, and we wanted to give them the absolutely best presentation of the movie as possible before they go spend their money at the theater,” Radiloff said. “We took the best of the best of existing material and new material that we created just for this release to come up with an ultimate DVD for Matrix fans. The phrase I've coined is, the ultimate cinematic mind trip is now the ultimate special edition DVD.”

Radiloff said Warner sees a great opportunity for a new special edition thanks to the rapid hardware adoption in 2002, noting that 10 million DVD hardware units were sold between Thanksgiving and the end of the year.

“As successful as the original Matrix DVD has been, there are still 35 million households that haven't bought it,” Radiloff said. “So we think there is a great opportunity to introduce these new DVD homes to the world of The Matrix.”

Scott Heffron, marketing director for Warner, said the free movie-ticket offer and the new features are designed to entice fans who already own The Matrix on DVD.

“It's all another way of getting current owners of the single disc to step up to the double-disc,” he said.

Warner fully expects to see aggressive pricing for this title on the retail front, according to Radiloff, which will make it a bargain for first-time Matrix DVD buyers who also plan to see the sequel in theaters.

But, this DVD will appeal to the hard-core Matrix fans especially thanks to the inclusion of the exclusive preview of Reloaded, he said.

“There is an unbelievable hard-core, avid fan base for this title, people who are just eating up every little speck of information about the new movie,” he said. “There's this whole Internet community that's speculating about the story — where it's going and what's going to happen — and the campaign hasn't even begun yet.”

Advertising and promotion for the title will piggyback on Reloaded's theatrical campaign, Heffron said.

“Our theatrical division will have tons of advertising out there for the sequel so we want to be very selective and specific as to where we place our advertising to make sure consumers know the difference between the two,” he said. “We are looking at in-theater spots that run before the movie, and [Matrix special edition DVD ads] are going to be on the front end of not only Reloaded, but several high-profile summer flicks.”

Radiloff said Warner expects high anticipation and backing from retail. The supplier is offering 24-, 48-, 60- and 96-unit merchandisers for the double-disc set.

“For the first three years of the [DVD] format, The Matrix was without exception the best-selling DVD at every retailer so they have an affection for this title. They know how strong the fan base is for this title, and they know it's the perfect opportunity for them to bring customers into the store.”

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