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Video Industry Pumping Arnold

15 Aug, 2003 By: Jessica Wolf


It's “Total Recall” this fall for Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The action-hero-turned-political-hopeful is readying a gubernatorial campaign in the California recall election Oct. 7.

Meanwhile, suppliers are preparing advertising campaigns for a slew of Schwarzenegger video titles set to hit stores as the voters enter election booths.

Perhaps the biggest of the titles will be Warner Home Video's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which streets Nov 11.

The $146 million box office sequel prebooks on election day. Warner Home Video's multimillion-dollar marketing campaign — which is designed to create 8 million total consumer impressions — will run alongside the star's final push to the polls. Warner's national ad campaign should reach 95 percent of American households more than eight times, according to the studio.

The two-disc DVD release ($29.95) is loaded with an interactive “Visual Effects Lab,” which lets viewers build their own action scene, new footage, an on-set gag reel, commentaries with Schwarzenegger and others, an HBO “First Look” documentary and a “Skynet Personnel/Weaponry Database.” The VHS is $22.99.

By the time, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment's Schwarzenegger Collection DVD boxed set, which includes the films Commando, Predator, The Running Man and Total Recall, streets Oct. 14, the star of the DVD set could be settled in at the California governor's mansion.

“We had already planned an Arnold boxed set for the holidays,” said Steve Feldstein, Fox's SVP of corporate and marketing communications. “The run for the governor's office at the perfect time is a total bonus.”

“I guess we'll be producing more.”

Even without the fact that the star has a hit movie in theaters and a slate of product headed for home video, he already had an edge with California voters, said Robert Silvey, manager of Cinefile Video in Santa Monica, Calif.

“I think his standing in the election has already been affected positively just by his popularity,” he said, comparing the action star to Ronald Reagan, who by the time he bid for office, hadn't made a movie in nearly 30 years. “There's automatic voter recognition there, even young voters would recognize his [Schwarzenegger's] name on the ballot.”

Amy Greenspan, manager of First Run Video in Brattleboro, Vt., said the election hype will likely have an impact on titles featuring Schwarzenegger and vice versa. Greenspan said if she lived in California, she'd vote for him.

“I probably suffer from being a little Hollywood starstruck,” she said. “Who wouldn't want the Terminator as governor?”

Other Schwarzenegger video titles are timed with the release of T3, including Artisan Home Entertainment's T2: Extreme DVD, which will be repromoted.

The movie that brought Schwarzenegger into the Hollywood spotlight, the weightlifting documentary Pumping Iron, gets a pumped-up marketing promotions for the features-laden 25th Anniversary Special Edition DVD available from HBO Home Video Nov. 11 (prebook Oct. 7). HBO plans a nationwide consumer print advertising campaign, radio and online promotions and marketing partnerships with Gold's Gym, World Gym and GNC locations across the country.

“People have definitely already been scrambling for Pumping Iron because it has that scene where he's smoking marijuana,” Silvey said.

Image Entertainment is repromoting the biography Arnold Schwarzenegger: Hollywood Hero with promotional materials that look much like political campaign posters.

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