Hoping to scare up more profits out of its sleeper hit “The Blair Witch Project,” Artisan Entertainment on Wednesday said it will release the pic on VHS and DVD as a sell-through on Oct. 22, nearly six weeks after it leaves theaters.
The move creates one of the tightest release windows for either a sell-through or rental title after a pic has left theaters.
Artisan plans to kick off an extensive $15 million marketing campaign once it begins pulling “Blair Witch” out of theaters in the middle of September. It is also mulling re-releasing the pic in theaters around Halloween.
“With the rapid-fire release of this landmark film to homevideo and DVD, we’re breaking all the rules in order to provide cutting-edge cinema to the home entertainment market in ways which maximize return to our retailers,” said Steve Beeks, prexy of Artisan Home Entertainment.
The DVD, to retail for $29.98, will feature Sci-Fi Channel pseudo-docu “The Curse of the Blair Witch,” as well as audio commentaries from the actors and previously unreleased footage (also currently available through Amazon.com’s video store). Sales are expected to easily top the 1-million-unit mark.
Viewers will also be able to pop the DVD into their computers and access excerpts from the Blair Witch comic book and dossier, as well as gain admittance to chat rooms, view a map of the Black Hills forest near Burkittsville, Md., and visit the Artisan and “The Blair Witch Project” Web sites, which helped fuel the pic’s B.O. success.
The VHS edition ($22.98) will also include the unreleased footage. A separate double pack ($32.98) will include the Sci-Fi show.
“The feedback we have received from retailers on this title has been phenomenal, and we are working overtime to provide them with everything needed to fully leverage this property to build excitement at the store level,” said Jeffrey Fink, prexy of sales and marketing for Artisan Home Entertainment.
In August, Warner Home Video announced it will narrow the window between rental and sell-through for “The Matrix.” Warners will introduce a special VHS collector’s edition of the pic for $14.98 just nine weeks after the title bows in rental stores, and will release “Matrix” on DVD on Sept. 21.
“Blair Witch,” which Artisan acquired at the Sundance Film Festival for $1 million, has generated $130 million at the B.O.