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Selling 'Reefer'

19 Oct, 2005 By: Jessica Wolf

Don't fear the “Reefer.” Showtime Entertainment Nov. 8 is releasing Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical on DVD.

Showtime found the edgy subject matter of the cult favorite, based on the original 1936 black-and-white film Reefer Madness, was a bit touchy for some buyers, said David Bowers, VP of marketing.

So the supplier revamped the message, playing up the “musical” angle and removing images that could be construed as drug-related, Bowers said. Since then, interest has increased.

Showtime also is playing up the cast, which includes Kristin Bell, star of the critically acclaimed TV series “Veronica Mars,” as well as Neve Campbell and Alan Cumming. And they've wrapped it all in a chocolate-brownie-scented Amaray case.

Showtime will blanket college campuses with screenings, giveaways and a Web sweepstakes. Trailers for the Reefer musical will play with midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 50 markets across the country around Halloween.

“Reactions at screenings have been so overwhelmingly positive that we felt this film deserved a marketing campaign that is a little edgy and yet very mainstream,” Bowers said.

The DVD includes the original black-and-white film as a bonus extra, as well as cast and crew commentary.

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