Bigger, longer, uncut ‘Shrek’

Creators insert new three-minute scene for VHS version

Video Premiere Awards/News

HOLLYWOOD — Intent on making “Shrek” one of the biggest VHS and DVD titles ever, DreamWorks has created 11 hours of extra material to go with the 90-minute film on a double-disc DVD version, including 15 minutes of new animation created expressly for the Nov. 2 release.

Among that 15 minutes is a new three-minute scene that was conceived, developed and produced by the movie’s creators after the top-grossing pic opened theatrically. That scene will be incorporated into the VHS version of the film itself, according to information provided to Daily Variety sister electronic publication Video Premieres magazine. The scene is an extension of the final post-wedding “I’m a Believer” party scene.

The other 12 minutes is original animation created for the interactive menus on the DVD, which DreamWorks is pricing aggressively to allow retailers to advertise a price of $19.95. The VHS edition, at $15.95, also is priced a dollar or two lower than comparable DreamWorks product. In keeping with the trend in the industry, neither format will have a suggested retail price.

Unprecedented scope

Only a very few DVD special editions have approached the volume of extra material available on the “Shrek” DVD. Disney’s “The Fantasia Anthology” last year probably came the closest, but that set offered supplemental material to both the original movie and “Fantasia 2000.”

With at least nine corporate partners, including Microsoft’s Xbox, Nintendo, Baskin-Robbins, Philips Electronics and Kia, involved in a multimillion-dollar cross-promotion blitz, DreamWorks is mounting its biggest marketing campaign ever for a video — one that could ultimately be the biggest by any studio.

Adding voices

In addition to even more of the typical extras found on most DVD special editions, such as audio commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage and making-of featurettes, the “Shrek” DVD will feature a first-of-its-kind DVD-ROM technology that allows users to dub their own voice in place of any of the characters in “Shrek’s Revoice Studio.” It’s one of 12 DVD-ROM games included.

For those without a DVD-ROM drive in their computer, there are several interactive games that can be played on conventional DVD players that allow users to mix and match character body parts, rescue the princess and decorate the Gingerbread man.

Other extras include humorous outtakes of computer glitches that caused Donkey to look like a Chia Pet, for example.

Kelly Avery, head of DreamWorks domestic home entertainment, said the pic’s broad appeal and $261 million theatrical gross to date will allow DreamWorks to make an event out of the release of a movie that so many people have indicated they want to own.

VHS still king

The special ending that also will be on the VHS edition indicates that despite all the attention to DVD, the studio recognizes VHS is still by far the biggest market for home sales. There are about 90 million homes with VCRs and about 54 million active VHS purchasers, she said. About 20 million homes have DVD players.

“In a marketplace that has never been bigger, we’re putting a big extra on VHS because VHS is still the lion’s share of business,” Avery said.

The marketing campaign will include an instant-win sticker on every VHS and DVD unit of “Shrek” as well as re-releases of “Chicken Run,” “The Road to El Dorado,” “The Prince of Egypt,” “Antz” (from the creators of “Shrek”) and the video premiere title “Joseph: King of Dreams,” all marked down to $9.95.

Among the prizes will be Xbox and GameBoy Advance players that will debut within days of the release of “Shrek.”

Everything about “Shrek” will be “Shrek-sized,” Avery said, including its oversized VHS box.

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