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TV DVDs Ride Theatrical Wave

1 Dec, 2005 By: Brendan Howard

Riding coattails is commonplace in home entertainment. In every store and video rental joint across the country, video games and DVDs show up on shelves or rise from the genre grave to take advantage of the newest big hits in theaters or in stores.

Why should TV DVD be any exception?

Here are the big hits coming to theaters and video rentailers in the coming months and which TV DVD titles will ride their waves:

  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe hits theaters Dec. 9. The BBC miniseries adaptation of three of C.S. Lewis' six “Narnia” stories (three-DVD set $49.95) is available from Homevision, now owned by Image Entertainment. For adult attention spans only is Paramount Home Entertainment's The Question of God: Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis ($24.99), a PBS documentary about the two thinkers' views on the Divine.

  • Dec. 14, Peter Jackson applies his epic “Lord of the Rings” directorial and special effects expertise to the old tale of a big ape in King Kong. The Dec. 14 theatrical release is attracting a lot of piggybacking of the original King Kong film from director Merion C. Cooper and releases of other Cooper films. Fans of TV, however, have only animated kids' versions to tide them over until next week: the English-dubbed 1960s Japanese cartoon King Kong Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 ($12.98 each) from Sony Wonder, and the Cartoon Network feature-length Kong: King of Atlantis ($19.98) from Warner Home Video.

  • The prequel to the original 1964 “Pink Panther” film is slated for Feb. 10. The new film stars Steve Martin reprising Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau role. Sony Pictures' recent MGM acquisition brought the “Pink Panther” cartoons along for the ride, and Jan. 31 the studio releases The Pink Panther Classic Cartoon Collection. Some of the cartoons aired in theaters, others on TV.

  • Cracking the release date for a theatrical film in mid-2006 is tough, but online sources peg the drama The Da Vinci Code for May 19. The adaptation of Dan Brown's super-successful thriller stars Tom Hanks and Amelie's Audrey Tautou. The book is immersed in pseudo-factual theories, and A&E Home Video's History Channel documentary Beyond the Da Vinci Code ($19.95) is now available. Coming Jan. 31 from A&E is Da Vinci and the Code He Lived By ($24.95), whose cleverly similar name promises little Dan Brown fantasy but lots about the extraordinary life of the brilliant Leonardo Da Vinci. That History Channel doc aired Dec. 4.

  • Stretching into the summer is the live-action Superman Returns, tentatively scheduled for June 30. There's a slew of live-action and animated DVDs with that fearless flyer already available, and there definitely will be more to come. Stay tuned.

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