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Teen-Targeted <I>Holes, McGuire</I> to Kick Off School Year

16 Jun, 2003 By: Joan Villa

The hit “tweener” film Holes will dig its way onto video Sept. 23 backed by a unique marketing campaign from Buena Vista Home Entertainment that taps tie-ins to the popular book and soundtrack.

Holes tallied $62 million at the box office, with critics praising its compelling adaptation of the Louis Sachar book. Sachar, who also wrote the screenplay, is featured in behind-the-scenes and making-of DVD bonus materials. Director Andrew Davis also provides commentary, along with teen stars Shia LaBeouf, Khleo Thomas, Jake M. Smith and Max Kasch.

Buena Vista marketing SVP Gordon Ho said the title scored ‘A' or ‘A+' from audience polling service CinemaScore, the same as teen-skewing live-action film The Princess Diaries and, more recently, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, which earned $40 million theatrically and Disney plans to bring to video Aug. 12. Both Holes and McGuire will be priced at $29.99 on DVD and $22.99 on VHS.

That ‘A' rating “is for us the biggest barometer of how they will perform on DVD,” added Ho.

The marketing campaign will target the teen and slightly younger “tween” market with national television advertising and print ads in magazines appealing to both boys and girls such as Nickelodeon, Teen People and Sports Illustrated for Kids, Ho said.

Disney's education group will take the promotions a step further by developing teacher kits that incorporate portions of the movie together with the book, since Holes is required reading for 10- to 12-year-olds at many schools, he added.

“With kids going back to school in late August, early September, we think there is traction around that time of year in English courses,” he said. “Every year there will be another 3.5 million kids going to school. In 4th or 5th grade, say, 15 percent will require the reading of Holes, so there will be every year another half-million kids exposed to the book.”

At the store level, Disney anticipates retailers will display the DVD together with the popular soundtrack and the book. A $3 “instant savings” coupon toward the soundtrack will be on the DVD package, he said.

“A lot of people will buy both at the same time,” he predicted. “We've heard from a number of retailers they're hoping to cross-merchandise all the different media together, which makes sense.”

The studio is also allowing retailers to customize their own $3-off coupon combining the purchase of the video with any preapproved item, such as Halloween candy or the Holes book.

“We've found retailers like the ability to customize their own program,” he said. “They want to be differentiated and targeted to their customers.”

Despite the obvious sellthrough hooks, Ho also believes the title will perform well at rental.

“We think this will be one of our stronger rental titles as compared to many of our younger-skewing films,” he said.

The Lizzie McGuire DVD will include deleted scenes and an alternate ending and prebooks June 17 for direct accounts and July 1 for distributors. The Holes DVD will also feature a gag reel, deleted scenes, commentary and a music video. It prebooks Aug. 12 for distributors and July 29 for direct accounts.

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