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Warner's Year of the Rebel

10 Feb, 2005 By: Jessica Wolf

Warner Bros. is making it a year with a cause. September marks the 50th anniversary of the death of actor James Dean, and the studio is planning an ambitious yearlong celebration of his work. Warner owns all three of the Hollywood icon's films.

This week, Warner executives joined promotional partners, Dean's friends and co-stars, and organizers of this summer's James Dean Fest — to be held in the star's birthplace of Marion, Ind. — to kick off the campaign.

The celebration includes the May 31 Warner Home Video (WHV) release of The Complete James Dean Collection on DVD ($68.92).

The set includes double-disc special editions of all Dean's films — Giant, Rebel Without a Cause and the DVD debut of East of Eden — and streets alongside the Cannes Film Festival debut of the new documentary, James Dean: Forever Young, written and directed by Michael Sheridan and narrated by actor Martin Sheen.

Each film has been digitally restored and remastered, and each disc includes new and vintage documentaries, screen test footage and deleted scenes.

To support the DVD release, Warner is prepping one of the studio's largest marketing and advertising campaigns for a catalog title, said Michael Radiloff, VP of theatrical catalog marketing for WHV. The push will create 200 million media impressions reaching 75 percent of the target 24 to 54 age group several times, he said.

“Warner Home Video is committed to making The Complete James Dean Collection one of our most successful catalog titles ever,” Radiloff said.

The Dean campaign also marks the debut of Movie-Pac, a new marketing tool that studios can use to publicize large theatrical releases and events to consumers (see story, page 10).

Dean's friends, including actors Martin Landau and Anna Strasburg, photographers Dennis Stock and Phil Stern, de-facto little brother Marcus Winslow and co-stars Jane Withers (Giant), Corey Allen (Rebel Without a Cause) and Frank Mazzola (Rebel Without a Cause), were on hand to reminisce about the late star, who still fascinates fans 50 years after his death at age 24.

Documentary narrator Sheen, who also attended the event, said he was strongly affected the first time he saw Dean's performance in East of Eden, in particular.“All three of his films had a profound impact on my life, my work and my generation,” Sheen said.

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