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Rhino Follows Up 'Tranformers Movie' Sales Shocker With Two More Special Editions on May 8

7 May, 2001 By: Ralph Tribbey

Industry veteran and Rhino Home Video senior v.p. Arny Schorr is eager to talk numbers on the company’s success with DVD.

Rhino took Transformers: The Movie, which has been kicking around the market in various incarnations for the past 15 years, and turned it into a digital hit, Schorr says. The title streeted during the busy Christmas-selling season late last year and was passed over by many of the company’s key retail accounts.

“We’ve shipped 240,000 VHS and 150,000 DVD copies to date, and Wal-Mart took exactly zero,” Schorr says. “They [Wal Mart and other mass merchants] just focus on the hits.”

But Rhino was able to find other sales partners. “We targeted fan Web sites and got the word out to them early about the release,” Schorr says. “It’s been so successful, the DVD has sparked a renewed interest in the toy line, and we’ve created two more special editions, Transformers: Villains and Transformers: Heroes, which are ready for release on May 8.”

For underground filmmaking legend Robert Downey Sr., father of Hollywood bad boy Robert Downey Jr., Rhino has set a May 22 street date for his classic media and race relations satire, Putney Swope. Price is $19.95.

Schorr points to the extra feature created for the DVD as an example of the way the company looks at things. “We were shooting an interview with him for the DVD when his cat suddenly jumped onto the bookcase behind him. Normally, this would have wrecked the interview, but we left it in.” The Downey interview, cat and all, touches all touches all the bases in explaining both the motives behind the film, and the state of underground filmmaking during the late 1960s.

Rhino on June 26 (prebook June 2) will bow the 25th Anniversary gift set Pink Lady... and Jeff at $39.95. “NBC came up with the idea of having the Japanese singing duo of Mie and Kei host a variety show,” Schorr says. “They didn’t speak English, so they brought in Jeff Altman to ‘interpret’ for them.” The result was so bizarre that NBC canceled the program after just six shows.

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