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USA Plans a ‘Super' Year

7 Feb, 2002 By: Kurt Indvik

USA Home Entertainment and NFL Films will pull off their own last-minute surprise when they street the VHS and DVD versions of New England Patriots Super Bowl XXXVI Champions March 5 (VHS, $14.95; DVD, $19.95), just 30 days after the Super Bowl. The program is now in its eighth year with USA distribution. The two companies will be negotiationg a renewal this year.

The home video will include game highlights and behind-the-scenes interviews from the 20 cameras NFL Films had working this year's Super Bowl. The video will also chronicle the Patriots run to the big game in New Orleans after an 0-2 start. Also included is “NFL Salutes America,” a segment full of footage from the many post Sept. 11 tributes held around the league. The DVD will include some 30 minutes of bonus footage and features, including the halftime concert by U2 and some of the pregame entertainment. Joe Amodei, president of USA Home Entertainment, said that pre-orders for the video are already among the highest he has ever seen historically for the title.

During a special presentation in New Orleans on the Saturday before Super Bowl XXXVI, Amodei and USA Films chairman Scott Greenstein, gave home video executives a rundown of USA's plans for 2002.

This week, of course, Greenstein, Amodei and team will be holding their collective breath, waiting to see how USA Films' Gosford Park (May 21 tentative video release) will do in the Academy Award nominations. “We're following the same release pattern for Gosford as we did for Traffic, anticipating multiple Academy Award nominations,” Amodei said.

Traffic, perhaps the company's biggest mainstream hit to date, will enjoy a Criterion Collection trip to video stores May 28 (Video Store Magazine, Feb. 3-9). Also due on video are the Coen brothers' The Man Who Wasn't There, starring Billy Bob Thornton (coming March 26) and Possession, starring Gwyneth Paltrow (Nov. 19). The company has a full slate of films set for release from USA Films and from new partner, Screen Media Films, headed by longtime industry veteran, Robert Baruc.

Rounding out its sports lineup, USA Home Entertainment will also have the official Stanley Cup Playoffs video and the NBA 2002 Championship video.

In the special interest category, USA is very excited about its fourth-quarter home video of Broadway dancer Savion Glover's Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk show, which won four Tony Awards and grossed millions in its original Broadway run in 1996 and is now beginning a 40-week U.S. tour. Coming to home video in August is Footnotes, from a PBS special of the same name featuring Glover and other performers celebrating dance.

Scheduled for a June 18 release is a special interest title featuring segments from the popular Sci Fi Channel show “Crossing Over With John Edwards.” USA also releases Happy Holidays From Bing & Frank Sept. 4. USA is bringing out a color home video version of the holiday TV show featuring Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra that aired in 1957. While the original television version was black and white, the color version was simultaneously shot for Sinatra's use while the TV taping was going on. Finally, The Kid Stays in the Picture, a very different documentary about Robert Evans, former head of Paramount Pictures, is set for release Oct. 15.

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