DVD adds extras to tempt consumers

In a bid to keep up with the tech-rich studios, a slew of indie film distributors have jumped on board the DVD bandwagon recently, announcing a full platter of behind-the-scenes and alternate-ending temptations for the technologically advantaged consumer.

At the top of the year, indie heavyweight New Line Cinema announced that 25 titles, including megahits “The Mask,” “Dumb and Dumber” and “Seven,” finally would be released in DVD format in 1997 and ’98 at sell-through prices.

Added footage

Then, Polygram Video unveiled its lineup of Oscar winners: “Dead Man Walking,” “The Usual Suspects,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Fargo.” The titles will offer buyers exclusive footage from each of the titles, tipping off a line of more than 20 films to be released by the studio before the end of the year, including “The Original Three Tenors” and “Lord of the Dance.”

Polygram Video prexy Bill Sondheim said consumers could expect unique footage and augmented tracks on its DVD releases.

Meanwhile, Republic Pictures will release its own lineup of titles later this year, including the DVD version of “Night Fall on Manhattan” in tandem with its VHS counterpart Oct. 14. Other films, including “Bound,” “Highlander” and “Highlander 2: Renegade Version,” will be released starting in August and continue to pop up through the remainder of the year.

“The new DVD format has the potential to enjoy unbelievable growth as the cutting-edge technology to feed consumer demand for the growing home theater experience,” says Robert Sigman, CEO and prexy of Republic Entertainment.

Playboy inks with Image

Playboy Home Video also has ventured into the fray, having sealed a licensing and distribbing agreement with Image Entertainment earlier this year that gave Image the rights to Playboy programming in the DVD format. The first title to hit the shelves was “Video Centerfold: Playmate of the Year” with Victoria Silvstedt. Playboy Home Video senior VP and general manager Barry Leshtz says Playboy is committed to state-of-the-art delivery systems such as DVD.

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