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'X-Men' Kicks Off Q4 Oct. 3

28 Jul, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

The X-Men: The Last Stand collector's edition includes an exclusive Stan Lee Comic.

The year's second-biggest movie is going to kick off the fourth-quarter DVD selling season.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is expected to announce today that X-Men: The Last Stand, which since its May 26 theatrical opening has grossed $233 million at the box office, will arrive on DVD Oct. 3 (prebook Sept. 6) in two extras-laden special editions.

“It's a big enough title that we believe it will perform from street date all the way through Christmas, and we've got a campaign behind it to ensure that it does,” said Steve Feldstein, SVP of marketing communications for 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The announcement follows Paramount Home Entertainment slotting Over the Hedge for Oct. 17 and Fox snagging the lucrative pre-Thanksgiving date of Nov. 21 for Ice Age: The Meltdown.

Over the Hedge, the first DreamWorks Animation home video release to be distributed by Paramount, is the year's No. 7 movie, with $151.7 million in domestic box office proceeds. The Ice Age sequel is No. 5, with theatrical earnings of $194.9 million.

The highlight of the third “X-Men” movie's DVD debut: three alternative endings, each with optional commentary by director Brett Ratner. The single-disc DVD release ($29.98) also includes 10 deleted scenes; audio commentaries from Ratner, the writers and the producers; a preview of the upcoming Ben Stiller movie A Night at the Museum; and two hidden “Easter eggs,” one of the Beast reciting Shakespeare and the other of the X-Jet landing in Washington, D.C.

Fox also is preparing a collector's edition ($39.98) that includes an exclusive 100-page commemorative book with an all-new story penned by Marvel Comics master Stan Lee himself. It's his first original Marvel Comics book in five years.

In addition, Fox is packaging all three “X-Men” movies into a “trilogy pack” that retails for $44.98.

Of the year's seven other top 10 theatrical releases, Paramount's Mission: Impossible III ($133.5 million, No. 8), Sony Pictures' Click ($129.4 million, No. 9) and Universal Studios Home Entertainment's The Break-Up ($117 .1 million, No. 10) are likely contenders for October, sources say.

Warner's Superman Returns ($180.2 million, No. 6) is a good bet for November, sources say, as is Sony Pictures' The Da Vinci Code ($215.9 million, No. 4).

The two wild cards are Buena Vista's Cars, at $230.8 million the year's No. 3 movie, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, the box office champ with theatrical earnings of $330 million — and counting.

The latter has been No. 1 for three weeks, and while observers predict a December DVD release date, just like the first “Pirates” in 2003, nothing's for sure, particularly if the film's box office momentum continues.

Cars will likely hit in October or November, according to sources.

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