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Hurry-Up DVD Release for Warner's 'Cats and Dogs'

14 Aug, 2001 By: Ralph Tribbey

Warner Home Video throws consumers and retailers alike a bone this fall with the day-and-date sellthrough release of recent USC film school grad Lawrence Guterman's breakout special effects comedy Cats and Dogs.

The film that barked and scratched its way to $89.5 million in its domestic theatrical run makes the move to packaged goods entertainment on Oct. 16, a swift three months (104 days) from its theatrical bow.

According to Ewa Martinoff, Warner Home Video's Family Entertainment marketing v.p., Cats and Dogs is “played strongly” among families, "We are definitely positioning the title for moms and kids." She confirmed that as with the recent release of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the company has eschewed the original widescreen aspect ratio of the film (1.85:1) in favor of a full-frame presentation.

A no-frills VHS version is priced at $22.98, while the feature-laden DVD arrives at $26.98, a $2 premium over Warner's typical $24.98 price point for new theatrical offerings. Driven (Sept. 18), Angel Eyes (Oct. 16) and Swordfish (Oct. 30), all recent theatrical to DVD announcements, are priced at $24.98. Cats and Dogs is at the same price as Dreamworks' Shrek DVD release, which debuts two weeks later.

Orders for both the VHS and DVD formats are due on Sept. 11 (Sept. 4 for prepacks).

A multimillion-dollar national marketing and advertising campaign will target both parents and children. Included in the media mix are both cable and network television spots, plus print support in such AOL Time Warner publications as People, Entertainment Weekly, Disney Adventures, Nickelodeon, Family Fun, Family Life and DC Comics. An online tie-in with AOL will feature prize giveaways. National radio promotions will air in most major markets parallel with the television and print campaigns. Warner Home Video will provide Cats and Dogs book covers and other promotional materials to schools nationwide.

Promotional backing will also come from Coinstar, the coin changer company, which will drop a national freestanding newspaper insert promoting the video release to more than 45 million households. Consumers who convert at least $5 worth of coins into bills at any one of Coinstar's supermarket-based machines nationwide will receive a $5 mail-in rebate by when they purchase Cats and Dogs on either videocassette or DVD.

Warner Home Video's "Dogs Rule!" promotion will offer a $5 rebate by mail to consumers who purchase both Cats and Dogs and See Spot Run on videocassette or DVD.

DVD extras include a commentary option featuring Sean Hayes (voice of Mr. Tinkles), producer Chris DeFaria, art director James D. Bissell and director Lawrence Guterman; a 15-minute HBO First Look featurette; the film's trailer; a storyboard-to-scene comparison feature; and a five-minute behind-the-scenes featurette titled "Teaching a New Dog New Tricks." Warner has also peppered the DVD with no less than four Easter Eggs.

Both English and French 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks are included, as well as English, French and Spanish subtitles.

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