‘Reloaded’ locks in

Warner picks Oct. 14 for new 'Matrix' DVD

Warner is readying “The Matrix Reloaded” for a DVD release on Oct. 14 — just three weeks before the third and final chapter in the trilogy, “The Matrix Revolutions,” is released in theaters.

Exec VP of worldwide marketing Mark Horak said the studio expects “Reloaded” to equal or surpass the 30 million DVD and VHS units of “The Matrix” sold worldwide so far.

Domestic box office of “The Matrix Reloaded” exceeded the original’s by more than $100 million at $272 million ($700 million worldwide).

Given the highly unusual six-month window between the two “Matrix” theatrical releases this year, there were many options regarding DVD release timing, packaging and marketing open to the video unit at Warner.

The unit has worked particularly closely with the theatrical division, the filmmaking Wachowski brothers and producer Joel Silver.

The initial two-disc DVD will be loaded with extra features.

Horak said the timing of the “Reloaded” DVD release is designed to allow fans to see the movie again just before the third installment arrives in theaters.

“The story is so rich and complex that sometimes one viewing is not enough,” he said.

Promotion on all fronts

Horak said most of the marketing for the “Reloaded” DVD will cross-promote the “Revolutions” theatrical release and Warner will promote the DVD in theaters showing “Revolutions.”

But the DVD of “The Matrix Reloaded” will feature repromotional content of related products such as the “Enter the Matrix” videogame and “The Animatrix” DVD collection of animated shorts related to “The Matrix” franchise. The latter sold more than 750,000 DVDs in the first few weeks of release last month and generated nearly $15 million in consumer spending.

Some observers say the studio might have been smarter to wait to release all three movies on DVD after “Revolutions” hits theaters, so that “Reloaded” and “Revolutions” could be presented as the single movie they’re reportedly designed to be.

The studio might then have better capitalized on the additional momentum and enthusiasm if “Revolutions” garners better reviews and higher viewer satisfaction than “Reloaded.”

Deluxe edition foreseen

Horak said there will likely still be a “super version” later on that would include even more extras once the Wachowski brothers have time to sit down and go through all the material they have accumulated.

But such an edition will not be released within just a few months of the October DVD, he emphasized. Most likely, “Revolutions” will be released as a stand-alone DVD before a boxed set would be produced and released.

“The last thing we want to do is get consumers to buy the first version and then three months later come out with a ‘super version,’ ” Horak said. “That is counter to everything we are doing to appease the fans of this franchise.”

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