CTHV pitching ‘League’ in Feb.

Columbia TriStar Home Video announced release plans yesterday for “A League of Their Own,” which is expected to be the lead title of a record-setting quarter for the Sony division. The $ 107 million B.O. grosser will be released Feb. 17, priced at the equivalent of $ 94.95 suggested retail.

The company will undertake its most ambitious marketing effort ever for a rental title in the hopes of shipping around 500,000 units, per a trade source. The campaign features a tie-in with Contadina — consumers who rent “A League of Their Own” and purchase two Contadina products will be eligible for a $ 3 rebate. The offer will be touted in national TV commercials, in print ads, and on in-store materials from Contadina and CTHV.

Vid retailers who purchase 12-piece prepacks of “League” receive premium items that include a vidcassette of the 1988 documentary “A League of Their Own” by Kelly Candaele and Kim Wilson, which inspired the feature, as well as autograph-stamped baseballs, pens and point-of-sale materials.

Though “League” will be CTHV’s top title in the period, trade sources indicate the company will release 33 rental titles in the quarter, aiming to ship a total of 2.5 million to 3 million units. Eight of those titles are expected to do better than 100,000 units.

If those goals are met, CTHV could dominate the rental market with a 30% to 35% market share, based on gross wholesale revenues from rental product, which could be $ 130 million to $ 140 million.

CTHV’s distribution deal with New Line will provide several of the top titles , “Mr. Saturday Night,””Honeymoon in Vegas” and “The Player.” New Line officials already projected them to sell around 750,000 units combined.

In addition to “A League of Their Own,” titles from Sony’s film divisions that will be released to the vid rental market in the first quarter include “Mo’ Money,””Single White Female,””Wind,””The Waterdance” and “Candyman.”

The rest of the year also looks strong for CTHV, with “Bram Stoker’s Dracula, “”Hero,””A River Runs Through It,””A Few Good Men,””Cliffhanger,””Husbands and Wives,””Howards End” and possibly Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “The Last Action Hero” due on vid in calendar ’93.

The first quarter is likely to be crammed with blockbuster rental product, with MCA/Universal also strongly positioned. MCA/U will release “Death Becomes Her,””Sneakers,””Raising Cain” and “Mr. Baseball” in the period.

Warner is expected to release “The Unforgiven,” which will likely be a major vid event. Other first-quarter titles from the erstwhile rental market dominator are “Stay Tuned,””Singles” and MGM/UA’s “Diggstown” and “Of Mice and Men.” Other possible first-quarter releases from WHV are “Christopher Columbus: The Discovery” and “Under Siege.”

Buena Vista will make a significant dent in the rental market with the January release of “Honey, I Blew Up the Kid.” Other first-quarter releases are “A Stranger Among Us,””The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag” and possibly “Three Ninjas.”

FoxVideo’s rental lineup for the period is “Unlawful Entry,” and “Rapid Fire, ” though there’s an outside chance “The Last of the Mohicans” could be out in the quarter.

Paramount is expected to release “Bebe’s Kids,””Cool World,””Whispers in the Dark,” and possibly “Pet Sematary 2,””School Ties” and/or “1492” during the first quarter.

As is often the case, the vid market in the first quarter will be crowded with last summer’s and fall’s blockbusters, but they are not likelyto cannibalize each other this time out, according to industry pundits.

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