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Music Box Lines Up Rest of Millennium Trilogy

10 Sep, 2010 By: Chris Tribbey

Music Box Films Home Entertainment celebrated one of the more successful foreign-language film releases on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in recent memory, with home video unit shipments for the July release of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo numbering in the in the mid-six figures.

Music Box executives can only hope for similar successes as they line up the second and third films in the Swedish thriller trilogy.

“It was No. 1 at iTunes and Amazon at one point,” said Ed Arentz, managing director of Music Box Films. “It’s been an amazing success.”

For The Girl Who Played With Fire, the second film in the trilogy, based on the novels by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson, Music Box has picked an Oct. 26 DVD ($29.95) and Blu-ray Disc ($34.95) street date, three days before the third film, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Next, debuts in theaters.

Brian Brown, head of sales for Music Box Films, said retailers are doubling their orders for the second film, after many found themselves quickly out of stock for the first one.

“They didn’t buy enough initially, and they know they have to buy more because of all the noise [about the series],” he said. “They had new customers walking in every day.

“It’s a good problem to have.”

With no major marketing campaign preceding its theatrical run, the theatergoers who earned The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo nearly $10 million at the box office and bought out the DVDs and Blu-rays were mostly fans of the books, which have sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. They were likely already familiar with Lisbeth Salander, the punked-out computer hacker heroine of Larsson’s novels.

Music Box is banking those fans, and new ones who’ve been turned on to the trilogy, will eat up every one of the five releases the company has planned: individual releases for each film, a boxed set with all the films in January, and a nine-hour mini-series version in April.

Every release will include the original Swedish language tracks, as well as English dubs, which is a nod to fans of the books who may not want to watch the films in Swedish.

“I think there’s a pretty strong consensus that foreign films are niche,” said Brian Brown, head of sales for Music Box Films. “It’s safe to assume a majority of those fans don’t watch subtitles often.”

The July home video releases of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo were skimpy in the extras department, and the DVD ($29.95) and Blu-ray Disc ($34.95) releases of The Girl Who Played With Fire has no confirmed bonus features. The planned Jan. 4 DVD and Blu-ray release of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest is likely to be thin on extras as well, Arentz said. However, Music Box is trying to acquire the rights to a documentary about author Stieg Larsson to include with the eventual boxed set, and the mini-series releases will have a couple hours worth of bonuses, he said.

“We’re saving our fire for the boxed set,” Arentz said.

An American remake of the first film, starring Daniel Craig, is reportedly in the works

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