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Music DVD on the Big Screen at Regal

8 Mar, 2004 By: Jessica Wolf

The largest theater chain in the country, Regal Entertainment Group, has been giving music DVD releases a boost by offering one-night theatrical premieres on or around street date of the titles.

“It's really a very unique way to experience these types of music events, and in essence it's created a brand new category in music entertainment,” said Dan Diamond, VP of business development for Regal. “[The event screenings] started in earnest in third-quarter 2003, and have been growing ever since.”

The special events are handled through Regal Entertainment Group's wholly owned subsidiary, Regal CineMedia, the theater chain's digital delivery content provider based in Denver, Colo. About 80 percent of the nearly 600 theaters in the Regal network, which include Edwards, UA and Hoyt Cinemas, are enabled to receive such digital content as DVD programs, live concerts and interactive satellite events.

Last week, Warner Music Group's Dave Gahan: Live Monsters premiered at 30 Regal theaters on the DVD's March 2 street date.

Kenny Chesney is also getting a limited release at Regal theaters. The country star's behind-the-scenes touring journal DVD, Road Case: The Movie, premieres in 32 Regal theaters March 8. Chesney will host the event live via satellite and play some acoustic tunes. Other artists to get similar Regal treatment include Coldplay, Sheryl Crow, Linkin Park, Gloria Estefan, KISS and Yes.

Many of the event screenings go on to yield great first-week numbers for the DVD at retail, Diamond said, noting the first-week No. 1 sales debuts of Coldplay Live and KISS Symphony DVDs.

“It's a benefit to the label and the artists, and it's clearly a benefit to the consumers to be the first ones to see the exciting new product offerings from their favorite artists and to see them in a way they cannot experience anywhere else -- and in high-definition cinema and surround sound,” Diamond said.

“Theater fill rates average generally about 70 percent, and we've had multiple sellouts in nearly every event we've done,” he added.

It's not just big music stars getting the full concert treatment. Regal has also signed on with Movie Gallery and producers of the family rock group The Animal Band, which is distributed by Koch Entertainment for a theatrical premiere.

The Animal Band Imagination Dance DVD will be available at Movie Gallery in a 60-day promotional window after the program debuts at 80 Regal theaters in Movie Gallery markets March 10.

“It's almost like a movie premiere,” said Ann Gillis, producer of the Animal Band DVD. “It's a wonderful opportunity for an independent filmmaker.”

Gillis said Regal has already signed on for five more concert airings for future DVD programming planned for The Animal Band.

It's an experiment to see whether the increased visibility of a theatrical premiere will help boost sales and rentals of the title, said Ted Innes, Movie Gallery's SVP of sales and marketing. The chain got behind the title because of its wholesome family appeal, presented in a fun, rock 'n' roll atmosphere.

“We're very excited about the success we've seen in this area from both consumers and record labels, and are pleased at the opportunity to deliver this type of content to the consumer,” Diamond said. “We are very committed to making this a very powerful ongoing series for both labels and consumers.”

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