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Warner Scares Up Sellthrough On <I>Thirteen Ghosts</I>

17 Jan, 2002 By: Hive News

Warner Home Video is scaring up a pattern of releasing ‘R'-rated titles with low box office numbers direct to sellthrough with the announcement that revived 60s horror movie Thirteen Ghosts will hit the street April 2 (prebook March 5) at $22.98 SRP ($14.95 MAP) VHS and $24.98 SRP ($19.95 MAP) on DVD.

Coproducer Joel Silver was also producer on Swordfish, Warner's first foray into selling mature-themed product that came in under the traditional $100,000 in box office breaking point for ‘A'-title sellthrough pricing. (Thirteen Ghosts took in $41.9 million.)

The studio followed early this month with Denzel Washington's dark tour-de-force Training Day ($76.3 million) and Heist ($23.5 million). All are rated ‘R'.

"Our plan is to offer consumers the choice to either rent or buy both DVD and VHS," Pamela Godfrey, Warner VP of worldwide publicity, said about Training Day and Heist. "This strategy allows us to concentrate media that was previously split between sellthrough and rental releases—providing greater reach and productivity for our consumer media budgets."

The horror classic gets a new, special effects-laden treatment from producers Silver (The Matrix, Swordfish) and Robert Zemeckis (Cast Away, What Lies Beneath), but unlike the star power of the previous sellthrough surprises, this movie relies heavily on newcomers Shannon Elizabeth (American Pie I and II, Scary Movie) and Matthew Lillard (Summer Catch) along with stalwarts Tony Shalhoub (Spy Kids, Galaxy Quest) F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus, Finding Forrester).

The Thirteen Ghosts DVD is web-enabled with links to a special Web sited and presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio and 16x9 full-frame format. It includes several features like the Ghost Files, 12 in-depth vignettes created by the film's conceptual artist describing the back stories of the ghosts in the film - their life experiences and how they became ghosts; Thirteen Ghosts Revealed, a behind-the-scenes documentary; feature-length commentary by production designer Sean Hargreaves and creator of special makeup effects Howard Berger; a theatrical trailer and a music video montage. It also has soundtracks in English and French and subtitles in English, French and Spanish.

Marketing support for Thirteen Ghosts will include a multimillion-dollar national advertising campaign with network, cable and spot TV (such as NBC, Fox, UPN, ESPN, Sci-Fi Channel) as well as national print (such as Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, Premiere, People, Maxim) and an online campaign that will include AOL, Yahoo!, and scifi.com.

Dedicated VHS and DVD merchandisers in 24- and 48- unit configurations are also available for in-store support. Additionally, there will be mixed merchandisers in 54- (24 VHS/15 DVD) unit configurations.

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