You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Piano’ vid bow gets $ 1 mil boost from Live

Live Home Video will release the critically acclaimed film “The Piano,” supporting the title with a $ 1 million promotion and marketing campaign. The release will also mark the first test of the new management regime of the beleaguered company.

Calling it the most aggressive marketing campaign to date, Live will release the Golden Globe and Writers Guild Award-winning film on May 25, backed by a multitiered game plan to spur consumer interest and take advantage of the film’s continuing theatrical run and its eight Academy Award nominations.

Aggressively marketed

Jeffrey Fink, VP of sales and distribution of LHV, stressed the company will aggressively market the title in an effort to “not experience another ‘Crying Game’ here,” referring to the film that Fink said retailers were reluctant to add to their inventory because it was perceived as an “art film,” a label that he believed scared off retailers from purchasing sufficient quantities of the vidcassette.

“Even though it was a major success in video, with a lot of units sold, our research has shown retailers underbought because they didn’t think it would do well in the marketplace.”

Live said it will distribute 10,000 screener copies of “The Piano” to retailers and distributors, supporting it with heavy advertising buys in trade publications. Caps and rugby shirts will also be distributed to multiple video purchasers.

High profile

With “The Piano” close to $ 40 million in box office, and its expected multiple award wins during next Monday’s Academy Awards ceremonies, Fink said the film’s high profile should help overcome any resistance from retailers.

“We want to make sure that as many retailers and distributors as possible see (‘The Piano’),” Fink said, explaining the unusually large number of screener cassettes used to promote the homevideo. “Because I think it plays extremely well, (retailers) seeing the movie will get it over the so-called ‘arthouse’ stigma attached to it.”

Fink believed “The Crying Game” should have sold, based on its $ 60 million box office gross, just south of 400,000 units instead of the actual 205,000 copies. Live expects “The Piano” to move “above average” units, according to Fink, who said the film’s box office should indicate sales between 250,000 and 300,000 units.

Reviving Live

Fink said the new management team also hopes to create marketing campaigns and release product worthy of retail support in an effort to reestablish Live within the business community.

“The new team that was brought on here (shares) a commitment to the video business — both rental and sell-through,” said Jeffrey Fink, Live’s veep of sales and distribution.

“We believe the video business is a very viable and an ongoing vital business and we intend to make sure that its successful, not only for us but for our retailers and distributors of our product.”

Big plans

Live Entertainment president and CEO, Roger Burlage, who joined the company in January replacing David Mount, who joined music and video distrib WEA, said the company hopes to release around 30 titles to homevideo in 1994, upping that number to 35 by next year.

Among the changes Burlage hopes to advance is Live’s recently opened theatrical division arm, which will provide the company with an additional product pipeline, an area Burlage knows well from his experience at indies New World and Trimark, the latter his previous post.

Bottom line

While declining to quote budgets or rule out possibilities, Burlage said the cost of the films will be examined by “their ability to make money.”

While he said producing a $ 30 million film would “not be ruled out,” sources said it is more likely the films will sport $ 3 million to $ 8 million budgets.

Suggestion box

Fink said Live will ask retailers for suggestions on casting for its direct-to-video and theatrical releases, to help ensure success in the marketplace.

“We’re not looking just to have lists (of retailers),” Fink said.

“We really want their input in terms of what works in the marketplace.”

Live will also include in its second-quarter release slate a homevideo of the laserdisc version of “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” that includes an extra 75 minutes of film and 15 minutes of never-before seen footage.

More Film

  • Emily Blunt in Talks for Inspirational

    Emily Blunt in Talks to Star in Annapurna Drama 'Not Fade Away'

    Emily Blunt is in negotiations to star in Annapurna’s inspirational drama “Not Fade Away” with David O. Russell and John Krasinski producing. The project is based on Rebecca Alexander’s 2015 memoir “Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found.” Alexander was born with a rare genetic mutation called Usher syndrome type III and [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    Alfonso Cuaron's 'Roma' Nabs Nine Nominations for 6th Premios Platino

    As was widely anticipated, Alfonso Cuaron’s triple Oscar-winning “Roma” dominated the 6th Premios Platino nominations, unveiled Thursday at Hollywood’s legendary Roosevelt Hotel, the site of the very first Oscars. It snagged a total of nine nominations, including best film, director, art direction, cinematography, and acting for its two Oscar-nominated actresses, Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de [...]

  • Stephen Bruno

    Stephen Bruno Exits Netflix for Top Marketing Job at MGM

    Netflix global marketing chief Stephen Bruno has exited his post for MGM, where he has been named chief marketing officer. His departure follows that of Netflix CMO Kelly Bennett and marks a major shake-up for the streaming giant. Bruno had been with the streamer since 2014, and is known as an innovator. He joins MGM [...]

  • Laura Linney Cast in Viggo Mortensen

    Laura Linney Joins Viggo Mortensen's Family Drama 'Falling'

    Laura Linney, Hannah Gross, and Terry Chen have joined the cast of Viggo Mortensen’s family drama “Falling.” The movie will be Mortensen’s directorial debut. He’s also producing, wrote the screenplay, and is playing one of the two leading roles in a story about a son’s relationship with his aging father. Production is currently underway in Toronto. [...]

  • Maya Erskine-Jack Quaid Romcom 'Plus One'

    Maya Erskine-Jack Quaid Rom-Com 'Plus One' Sells Ahead of Tribeca Premiere

    Romantic comedy “Plus One,” starring Maya Erskine and Jack Quaid, has sold to RLJE Films in a pre-emptive deal for low seven figures ahead of its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. “Plus One” is written and directed by Jeff Chan (“Adam Ruins Everything”) and Andrew Rhymer (Pregame). The film also stars Ed Begley, [...]

  • Alan Horn Disney

    Walt Disney Studios Leaders Say Fox Deal Represents 'Exciting New Chapter'

    Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn and President Alan Bergman are asking Fox staffers to be patient while the company begins the complicated work of integrating the two motion picture teams. Both men were on Fox’s Century City lot for meetings with executives. In a memo, Bergman and Horn said they would try to be [...]


    Doha Film Institute's Qumra Wraps, Bolstering Status as Top Arab Cinema Event

    The Doha Film Institute’s unique Qumra workshop wrapped its fifth edition on Wednesday following six days of masterclasses, labs and mentoring sessions that bolstered the DFI’s status as the prime entity fostering Arab filmmaking and connecting directors from most of the region with the rest of the world.  Programmers from Cannes, Venice, Toronto, Berlin and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content