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Paramount 'Hedges' DVD Bet

26 Jul, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

A newly charged Paramount Home Entertainment is taking early aim at the sparsely populated fourth quarter by announcing an Oct. 17 release date for Over the Hedge.

It's the first DreamWorks Animation home video release to be distributed by the studio. The sale of DreamWorks to Viacom closed Feb. 1, but Universal Studios Home Entertainment continued to distribute DreamWorks Animation titles through May 31. Since then, most of the former DreamWorks Home Entertainment team has been integrated into Paramount.

Over the Hedge, with a $151.8 million domestic gross, is the year's No. 7 movie. The DVD will come with an innovative new “hibernating content” feature that will allow consumers to unlock additional bonus materials, already loaded onto the disc, after Nov. 28 by accessing a Web site and typing in a code.

Out of the box, the DVD will come with an all-new, four-minute mini-movie created by the filmmakers exclusively for this release. “Hammy's Boomerang Adventure” brings back all the film's characters and voice talent for a parody of reality television.

The DVD also includes “Behind the Hedge,” a look at the real-life animals that inspired the film's critters; filmmaker commentaries; a mock “infomercial” spoofing the career opportunities of pest control; a “making of” documentary; cast interviews; and a virtual drawing lesson by a DreamWorks animator on how to sketch Hammy.

While most of the major spring and summer theatricals will likely be released on video before Christmas, only one other big title has a firm date: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment's Ice Age: The Meltdown streets Nov. 21.

In the past, DreamWorks typically waited until November, as well, to release its big animated features, like Shrek and Shrek 2. It's a change in strategy, said Kelly Sooter, the former domestic head of home entertainment at DreamWorks who now is EVP and general manager, family, at Paramount Home Entertainment.

“I think it's going to be a huge fourth quarter in terms of the number and caliber of titles coming from theaters to DVD,” Sooter said. “We felt we had a very big movie that can hold the date, and we wanted to get it in first. This is the first time in many years that an animated movie of this caliber has come out in the October window, and our campaign is being built to carry it through the holiday time period. We believe we will have strong visibility when consumers are shopping from the day we street through the end of the year.”

Paramount's advertising, marketing and publicity campaign is designed to reach 94% of moms and kids more than 11 times during the fourth quarter. The campaign launches in mid-September with TV and print advertising, revving up in the weeks leading to street date.

In addition, partners Interstate Bakeries Corp., On-Cor Frozen Foods, Sunkist© Almond Munchies©, Alta Dena and Chuck E. Cheese's will have millions of Over The Hedge-themed packages and retail displays.

Orders for the $29.99 Over the Hedge DVD are due Sept. 5.

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