Monstrous vid bid

Disney revs marketing gears for 'Monsters'

HOLLYWOOD — Billy Crystal and John Goodman have already returned to the studio to record the voices of Mike and Sulley for a follow-up to “Monsters, Inc.”

But the new animated scene is being produced by Pixar exclusively for Disney’s VHS and double-disc special edition DVD versions of the Academy Award-nominated “Monsters, Inc.” coming on Sept. 17.

Disney is putting its largest marketing campaign to date behind “Monsters, Inc.,” which came up just short of the box-office gross of “Shrek” last year with $252 million compared with $268 million for “Shrek.”

BVHE president Robert Chapek said he expects “Monsters, Inc.” to exceed the 22 million units of “Shrek” purchased by consumers last year. Combined with rentals, that could push video spending on “Monsters, Inc.” close to $500 million, about twice its box office earnings.

Also giving Chapek that confidence is research showing that the movie has unprecedented appeal beyond families, with as much as 40% of sales expected to come from non-family homes.

Slate set

“Monsters, Inc.” is one of a full slate of video releases for the remainder of the year that Disney’s Buena Vista Home Entertainment is announcing today, including Michael Bay’s oft-delayed cut of “Pearl Harbor” — expected to get an R-rating — now set for a July 2 release as a whopping four-disc set filled with 12 hours of extra programming.

Although Buena Vista already sold about 15 million copies of several VHS and DVD versions of “Pearl Harbor” last year, Chapek believes the new cut of the movie could lead to sales that will make the new version one of the biggest sellers this year.

Overall he expects 2002 to be one of Disney’s biggest years in video.

Buena Vista has scheduled a May 21 release of the recent family theatrical hit “Snow Dogs,” and a feature-length adaptation of the TV cartoon series “The Legend of Tarzan” to premiere on video July 23 under the name “Tarzan and Jane,” with a new duet version of the award-winning song “Two Worlds, One Family” performed by Phil Collins and Mandy Moore.

Chapek has high expectations for “Tarzan and Jane” since sales of this week’s video premiere release “Cinderella II: Dreams Come True” are on pace to exceed the 6.5 million units of last year’s “Lady and the Tramp II.” The studio’s video premiere movie “The Hunchback of Notre Dame II” will be released later this month.

Other releases on the slate include the delayed DVD version of the animated movie “Oliver & Company” on May 14, with songs and voices by Billy Joel and Bette Midler, and a 30th anniversary four-hour double-disc DVD edition of “Schoolhouse Rock” featuring all 46 songs from the series on Aug. 27.

Trend setters

The video version of “Monsters, Inc.” is the latest to have new footage produced at a cost of millions of dollars specifically for the video. George Lucas fully produced several additional visual effects-laden scenes for the DVD version of “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” last year and DreamWorks produced a scene of computer animation for the VHS and DVD versions of “Shrek” with the entire cast singing karaoke.

The “Monsters, Inc.” DVD will also include the outtakes that were produced for the theatrical re-release during the holidays, and the Oscar-nominated Pixar short “For the Birds” among several hours of extra material.

Among the 12 hours of extras on “Pearl Harbor” are hours of behind-the-scenes footage of Bay in production on the film, demonstrations of how the attack sequence was re-created, the boot camp military training that stars including Ben Affleck and Alec Baldwin went through, and documentaries about the actual attack on Pearl Harbor and interviews with survivors.

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