Sony has just announced that its monster hit Spider-Man, which has swung into box-office record books by grossing more than $400 million domestically and $700 million worldwide, will be released on a special edition DVD on November 1.
"We are thrilled to bring the biggest film of the year to people's homes in time for the holidays," says Benjamin Feingold, president of Sony's video division, Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. "We have taken great care to ensure that the features on the Spider-Man DVD and VHS will provide even more excitement than audiences experienced in the theater by further immersing consumers in Spider-Man's world."
The two-disc DVD set will feature a host of goodies, including: commentary from director Sam Raimi, producer Laura Ziskin, and special-effects supervisor John Dykstra; featurettes on the making of the movie; screen tests for Tobey Maguire and the CGI Spider-Man; a gag/outtake reel; conceptual drawings and art from the movie; filmographies, trailers and TV spots; a historical documentary on the myth of Spider-Man; and, for the geekiest comic fan, an archive of Spidey comics and a rogues gallery of the hero's toughest foes.
The Spider-Man DVD will be available in both wide- and full-screen editions. And to further entice fans, the studio plans to spin off a specially packaged limited-edition collector's gift set that includes the DVD and a reprint of Marvel Comic's Amazing Fantasy #15, where Spidey was originally hatched, along with a collectible numbered film cel from the movie and drawings from the original comic artists.
While Sony has not yet announced the pricing for the various sets, the studio did say it will spend $100 million to market the release and will maintain partnerships with Dr. Pepper, Cingular and Carl's Jr./Hardees in keeping the Spidey brand out there. Apparently, Sony is going all out with the promotional campaign believing Spider-Man can not only become the top-selling DVD of all time, but also has a shot at dethroning the home-video industry's biggest record: Disney's $400 million-plus haul for the 1994 VHS release of The Lion King.
Of course, there's going to be plenty of competition, including: New Line's blockbuster The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings ($312 million gross domestically), Disney's Monsters, Inc. ($255 million) and Universal's first-ever DVD release of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial ($400 million) and the entire Back to the Future trilogy ($418 million).
Other films likely to make a big splash on DVD are this year's hits like Warner Bros.' Minority Report, Fox's Ice Age and Sony's own Men In Black II and Panic Room. (Sony is also likely to put out DVDs of Mr. Deeds, Stuart Little 2 and XXX before the year's over.)
Perhaps Spidey's biggest challenge will come from George Lucas, who is expected to unwrap his Star Wars: Episode II--Attack of the Clones in time for the holidays.
Still, videophiles say Sony's superhero is the title to beat. "I think Spider-Man's going to be the biggest-selling title in the fall," says Peter Bracke, editor of DVDfile.com. "Episode II didn't quite cross over to the mainstream as everyone expected it to, and I think Men in Black II is fading fast."
Bracke also says that despite some high-profile flicks, this fall's slate of DVDs looks weaker than last year, which saw the release of Shrek, Pearl Harbor and Star Wars: Episode I--The Phantom Menace, in addition to older titles like The Godfather trilogy, Snow White and Citizen Kane.
"People are somewhat disappointed with the catalogue coming out, with the exception of Back to the Future. There's no Star Wars, no Indiana Jones. There are really not too many exciting big catalogue titles coming out," adds Bracke. "It's more and more new releases."
Some notable catalogue titles that are due out this fall include Ken Burns' epic Civil War documentary, Miramax's two-disc set of the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night, Warners' extras-laden Singin' in the Rain, Disney's Beauty and the Beast and Paramount's long-awaited Grease. Several TV shows are also getting the DVD treatment, including 24 (with an alternate ending to the season finale), MTV's first Real World and HBO's Project Greenlight.