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National Lampoon Taking No Vacation

22 Mar, 2008 By: Billy Gil

One, Two, Many

National Lampoon Inc.'s second-quarter (which ended Jan. 31) revenue of $500,000 was half of the nearly $1 million for Q2 2007. But the company is moving forward with a strong release slate of theatrical and niche direct-to-video titles.

“We are delivering the film projects that we have been so focused on, and look forward to recognizing revenue from these areas going forward,” said Daniel Laikin, CEO of National Lampoon.

Laikin pointed to the company's first original production, National Lampoon's Bag Boy, hitting theaters March 14 and DVD ($26.95) June 17, as a possible revenue source. The film follows a young grocery clerk (“Battlestar Galactica's” Paul Campbell) who enters the world championship of competitive grocery bagging. It also stars Dennis Farina and Brooke Shields.

Meanwhile National Lampoon continues to churn out DTV titles (some have limited theatrical releases) with its “National Lampoon Presents” series, consisting of eight to 12 acquired films released on DVD each year, according to Tom Daniels, president of worldwide distribution for National Lampoon. First out is One, Two, Many, coming April 15, at $26.95. The film stars John Melendez, a regular on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” also known as “Stuttering John” on “The Howard Stern Show.” He plays a guy looking for the perfect girlfriend — in his eyes, this means one who will have a m?nage ? trios with him.

“It becomes more complicated,” Daniels said. “It's amusing and heartfelt.”

The DVD features deleted scenes, commentary with Melendez (who also wrote the film) and director Michael DeLorenzo, interviews and a gag reel.

To promote the DVD, Daniels said Melendez shot material for the National Lampoon College Network, as well as viral video for the company's site, www.nationallampoon.com; its broadband channel, TogaTV.com; and branded channels on such Web video outlets as YouTube, AOL, Yahoo and Joost.

Also on the plate: National Lampoon Presents Electric Apricot, a jam band spoof from Les Claypool, bassist of bands such as Primus and Oysterhead. The title is seeing a limited theatrical release to audiences that will get the joke — jam band havens such as Northern California.

Writer-director Claypool said the film is an endearing look at the scene, as fictional jam band Electric Apricot gears up for a possible slot at the mecca of all jam festivals, Festeroo (a pun off jam festival Bonaroo). The fictional band, made up of real musicians, has played shows, including at the South by Southwest festival earlier this month.

“[Making movies] has been the most difficult undertaking of my life,” Claypool said. “It's like climbing Everest in a speedo.”

The film also stars Matt Stone, Seth Green and Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead.

The $26.95 DVD streets May 13 (prebook April 8) and includes interviews with Claypool in character as biofuel-loving drummer Lapland Miclovich, as well as a commentary featuring a slightly intoxicated Claypool.

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