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'Getting There Is Half the Fun'

25 Jan, 2013 By: Ashley Ratcliff

Warner heralds National Lampoon’s 30th anniversary

Load up the station wagon with the wife and kids, and get ready for plenty of shenanigans. National Lampoon’s Vacation is getting a Blu-ray Disc re-release in conjunction with the film’s 30th anniversary.

Warner Home Video releases the new edition of the comedy May 21 (order date April 16), the same day it takes a gamble with the Blu-ray debut of Vegas Vacation. Both are listed at $19.98.

Vacation, originally released in 1983, laid a solid foundation for the franchise, said Tom Lucas, VP of marketing and sales, theatrical catalog, with Warner.

“You have to look at it as a true comedy classic,” he said. “It’s stood the test of time — I think it’s as funny today as it was years ago.”

In the film, the Griswolds embark on a cross-country road trip to theme park Wally World, only to encounter one hilarious mishap after another. In the driver’s seat is well-intentioned patriarch Clark (Chevy Chase), with wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) in the passenger’s seat and kids Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall) and Audrey (Dana Barron) in the back.

“Part of the appeal has to be attributed to the characters,” Lucas said. “Who doesn’t like Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold and his wife, Ellen, and watching them cart their family off on these vacation misadventures? It’s funny, and I think it’s all something we can relate to on some level.”

Bonus material for the Blu-ray includes a new A&E special: “Inside Story: National Lampoon’s Vacation”; an introduction by Chase, Randy Quaid (Cousin Eddie) and producer Matty Simmons; and commentary by director Harold Ramis, Chase, Quaid, Simmons, Hall and Barron.

Warner, like all the major studios, takes into careful consideration which titles it will re-release in the high-definition format.

“We recognize that this title is one of the many significant films we’re privileged to distribute,” Lucas said. “So when a big anniversary, like the 30th anniversary, comes up, we like to pay homage to all those that were involved in this film. We’re still looking to grow acceptance of Blu-ray, so we have these opportunities to promote cornerstone titles to help drive the Blu-ray format. I think it’s an opportunity we want to capitalize on.”

Vacation and Vegas Vacation (1997), which both are part of Warner Bro.’s yearlong 90th anniversary celebration, will be available at all major retailers.

“Most catalog purchases are impulse buys, so we really focus first on retail marketing,” Lucas said. “We need to get placement. If we’re not placed, we’re not going to make sales.”

The studio is also employing the use of social media marketing, especially Facebook, where the Clark Griswold page boasts 1.3 million “likes” and Vacation has 129,000 “likes.”

These titles, as well as the other films in the series, will be a part of Warner’s Father’s Day promotions, Lucas said. They include European Vacation (1985), Christmas Vacation (1989) and Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure (2003).

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