U boosts ‘Eternal’ DVD

Studio hoping to spead a little 'Sunshine'

HOLLYWOOD — If the Sept. 28 DVD release of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and high-profile launch event with Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet helped the movie draw four Golden Globes noms, then maybe a special collector’s edition DVD on Jan. 4 will help it win some of those trophies.

Of course Universal isn’t acknowledging it, but that appears to be the strategy the studio is using this year to influence awards voters.

After timing the DVD release of “Seabiscuit” last year for December and setting a Feb. 1 DVD release for “Ray” — coincidentally timed to the mailing of Oscar ballots? — the studio is going a step further by quickly turning around a special collector’s edition DVD of “Eternal Sunshine,” with 70 minutes of new bonus features, for public release just a little more than three months after the movie’s DVD bow.

Studios typically wait a year — sometimes several years — before putting out a special edition of a movie on DVD, especially if the first edition included bonus features. The first version of “Eternal” contained deleted scenes, interviews with Carrey and director Michel Gondry, audio commentary, a musicvideo, behind-the-scenes programs, etc.

There are exceptions: The annual “Extended Editions” of “The Lord of the Rings” DVDs are released three to seven months apart, while this year’s “Hellboy,” which was followed by “Hellboy Director’s Cut” less than three months later. But in those cases, the studios announced their strategies in advance of the first release.

There was no mention during the launch of the “Eternal” DVD last fall about a collector’s edition coming out soon thereafter.

Strong ‘Sunshine’ sales

Universal said that’s because the decision was made only after the late-September release drew such a strong response, and after discussions with filmmakers indicating they had much more material they could put together. In retrospect, the studio wishes it could have gotten the collector’s edition, which is packaged as a gift set with a commemorative photo book, out to stores even more quickly to better capitalize on holiday sales.

Among the extra bonus features are additional deleted and extended scenes, a newly recorded interview with Winslet and Gondry and featurettes on the visual effects and one of the film’s key scenes, the latter with commentary by Gondry, Carrey and crew members.

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