Here come the “Men in Black.”The year’s top-grossing film will bow on homevideo Nov. 25, just in time for the vid to ring retailer’s registers during the all-important holiday selling season. The release also further stokes the competitive fires as the “Men in Black” vid joins a growing list of summer pics to hit vidstore shelves. The Tommy Lee Jones/Will Smith starrer from Columbia Pictures, which has grossed $235 million domestically ($363 million worldwide), is expected to go head to head with the vid bow of Universal’s “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.” The dinosaur pic, which has passed the $500 million mark worldwide and is right behind “Men in Black” domestically with $227 million, will bow Nov. 4. Retailers — who suggest that 8 million to 10 million copies could be sold of the “Men” vid at a suggested list price of $15.95 — are also expecting another popular pic, TriStar’s “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” to be launched on video at the end of the year. The Julia Roberts starrer, which has topped $119 at the domestic box office, is expected to be released in December. With the two successful box office pics in the homevideo mix, the Columbia TriStar Home Video banner will pack a potent one-two video sales punch. “We’re projecting ‘Lost World’ and ‘Men In Black’ to be our two biggest sellers this season,” John Thrasher, veep of homevideo for the Tower Records and Video chain. “And with ‘Batman’ and the restored version of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ also available, it looks like a very promising fourth quarter.” Columbia TriStar Home Video is backing the “Men in Black” bow with “one of the largest awareness campaigns in video history,” according to homevid prexy Benjamin Feingold. “Because of its enormous, broad demographic appeal, it should become one of the most popular sell-through titles of all time.” The studio will use an aggressive array of web, spot and cable TV ads, radio promos and several tie-ins, including links with the Sci-Fi Channel and Ray Ban sunglasses, to tout the vid’s availability. The studio anticipates the TV campaign alone will create over 1 billion impressions and reach 97% of all households 11 times. The pic’s soundtrack — driven by the catchy title track and music vid — has been purchased by more than 1.3 million consumers since its bow 10 weeks ago.
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