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Cruise pushes pluses on Par’s ‘M:I 2’ DVD

Sales may be 1st to crack 2 mil units

Tom Cruise pulled off another seemingly impossible mission in getting Paramount Home Video to create its most elaborate special DVD edition ever, for “Mission: Impossible 2.”

The studio has been among the slowest to fully embrace the DVD platform and only recently has introduced a few titles that have more than a couple of extra features. But Par is riding the enthusiastic support and encouragement of Cruise and “M:I 2” director John Woo in creating what Paramount Pictures Worldwide Home Entertainment president Eric Doctorow called the studio’s “most ambitious project we’ve ever done.”

Although Paramount declined to discuss costs for the release, set for Nov. 7, it is believed to be on the higher end of the expensive special editions, costs of which have climbed dramatically this year to $250,000-$500,000.

Shooting for high marks

But the money spent on production is expected to return dividends: The DVD has the potential to become one of the first titles (if not the first) to crack the 2 million-unit sales mark, and it opens the possibility of Par working with Cruise and Woo on additional DVD titles as well as the studio developing special editions of catalog titles.

Although elaborate editions that take months to create are starting to be produced as movies go into production — something Cruise told Par he wants to do with his next film — Paramount did not begin work on the “M:I 2” DVD until the opening of the theatrical release just three months ago.

Woo recorded video and audio interviews for the DVD from the set of another motion picture he’s shooting in Hawaii, and Cruise not only did the same while promoting the pic’s theatrical release overseas, but also made suggestions and approved all aspects of the menus and special features on the disc.

Extra attractions

“M:I2” features more than 60 minutes of behind-the-scenes features — most of which have never been seen before and some of which were recorded specifically for the DVD — and hours of interactive programming playable on computers with DVD-ROM drives and links to Web sites accessible only through the disc.

Also included is an alternate title sequence and the MTV Movie Awards show parody “Mission Improbable,” featuring Cruise, Woo and Ben Stiller as Cruise’s stunt double.

The VHS version of the movie, being released the same day, will be priced for rental only and will include two featurettes.

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