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Fox wraps ‘Apes’ DVD in Christmas ribbons

Studio to price pic for rental only

Fox is planning to release Tim Burton’s version of “The Planet of the Apes” two days before Christmas.

Last year Fox had success with that time frame with summer hit “The X-Men.” But while the studio bucked the trend last year by pricing “X-Men” to be sold on videocassette instead of an initial rental window, Fox is bucking the trend toward that strategy this year by pricing the Nov. 20 videocassette release of the $170 million box office hit for rental only.

Disney’s Buena Vista will do the same with its “Scary Movie 2,” which has yet to be announced but has been pushed back from a planned release date of Nov. 27 to Dec. 18.

Anticipating a major hit before release, Fox had already planned to produce more than 13 hours of value-added material on the double-disc DVD of “Apes” priced at $29.98, including 28 bonus programs.

More than half of the monkey pic’s $170 million was generated in the first two weeks in theaters. Initial frame drew $68 million, setting a record for a non-holiday three-day opening weekend. Fox is mounting a $10 million TV, radio and online ad campaign for the video.

Among the extra features on the DVD, most of which were shot during the filming of the movie, are nine behind-the-scenes/multi-angle features. There is also a feature during the movie itself, also used on the DVDs for “The Matrix” and “The World Is Not Enough,” that allows viewers to leave the movie at various points to see a behind-the-scenes featurette on the production of that particular scene. The enhanced viewing feature also lets viewers search cast and crew biographies or view the special effects.

Fox has already announced fall releaes for “Dr. Dolittle” and DVD versions of “Star Wars — Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” “The French Connection” and “The Simpsons.”

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