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VeggieTales Will Have Kids Eating Out of Artisan's Hand

1 Dec, 2002 By: Stephanie Prange

Kids will eat up their Veggies this spring.

Artisan Home Entertainment and Big Idea Productions March 4 will bow the first “Veggie Tales” theatrical production, Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, on VHS and packed two-disc DVD.

Starring the popular “VeggieTales” characters, including Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato, along with new characters, the CGI film of the story of Jonah and the whale earned $25 million at the box office.

The film streets in time for Easter, April 20, but Artisan Family Home Entertainment president Glenn Ross said the title is evergreen.

“I don't really think that VeggieTales is seasonally based,” he said. “We can just create more of an event around it [when it streets in time for Easter].”

The double-disc $24.98 DVD includes outtakes produced specifically for the video release; three audio commentaries, including one with the characters; featurettes; music videos; an interactive storybook; animated menus; activities, coloring pages and Web links; and Easter eggs. The $19.98 VHS includes the outtakes. A limited-edition holo-foil package will differentiate the full-length movie from “VeggieTales” short-form videos. The prebook is Jan. 21; Jan. 14 for prepacks. Spanish-dubbed videos -- a franchise first -- are also available.

“[Big Idea] really wanted to make a statement here,” Ross said. “You have this loyal fan base that's been following them for 10 years. They deserve to really get a strong look at the creators and behind the scenes.”

Big Idea's “VeggieTales” franchise of moral tales, with a strong fan base that includes the Christian market, has sold more than 30 million videos to date. Ross noted the titles are produced in an old Woolworth's in Chicago. “It almost resembles the early days of Disney,” he said.

Big Idea created many of the DVD extras, but Artisan had input in deciding what “consumers would like to see on the disc,” Ross said.

He said the theatrical take was the result of fans' “real desire to show Hollywood that a film like this could be successful.”

He added, “The theatrical release surprised Hollywood, and I think the video release will surprise as well.”

Ross expects to ship more than 3 million units initially and is prepared to replenish.

“We don't believe in flooding the market,” he said. “We don't think that's a good experience for retailers.”

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