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‘Spidey’ vid to get record push

Campaign valued at more than $100 mil, may surpass 'MIB'

“Spider-Man” will swing into videostores Nov. 1 with lofty expectations from Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, which is mounting the studio’s biggest marketing campaign, valued at more than $100 million.

Executives are certain that the $400 million superhero film will surpass “Men in Black” to become the bestselling DVD by any studio to date. But they want to fly even higher, setting their sights on surpassing the home rental biz’s all-time top seller, “The Lion King.”

That would mean selling nearly twice as many copies of Spidey as “Men in Black,” which is estimated to have sold 15 million-16 million.

Familiar foes

“Spider-Man” will compete on video with some of the same hits it faced in theaters, including “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones.” It also will face competition from last year’s $312 million “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” and $255 million “Monsters, Inc.” as well as one of the few other $400 million theatrical films in the first DVD release of “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.”

But some of the studio’s stiffest competition will likely be from itself. Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment is expected to release most of its summer hits on video this fall including “Men in Black II,” “Mr. Deeds,” “Stuart Little 2,” the anticipated Vin Diesel action hit “XXX” and Dana Carvey comedy “The Master of Disguise.”

Marshall Forster, exec VP of North America, said he is not concerned about Sony titles cannibalizing each other. “At the end of the day, the strength of the title wins out.” But he noted that opening weekends have become as critical on video as in theaters.

Company is giving “Spider-Man” an optimum and rare Friday release date that will capitalize on Halloween night retail events and four full weekends of sales leading into the Thanksgiving holiday.

Familiar partners

The video division is continuing corporate marketing partnerships that “Spider-Man” had during its theatrical releases with Cingular, Dr. Pepper and Carl’s Jr./Hardees. Combined with other partners to be announced, the marketing campaign will involve $45 million in media buys and overall promotions that create 8 billion impressions and increase the value to more than $100 million.

The studio’s introductory DVD version of “Spider-Man” will be a two-disc set chockfull of extras, including Tobey Maguire’s costume, makeup and screen tests that reportedly were the turning point in convincing director Sam Raimi that the thesp could pull off the physicality of the role.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment manager of worldwide DVD content Javier Soto said the “Spider-Man” DVD also will provide an extensive history of Marvel’s superhero character. In addition to interviews with Marvel’s Stan Lee and many of the artists who worked on “Spider-Man” comics, company was granted access to the Marvel archives in order to present galleries of drawings and collections of Spider-Man’s loves and enemies in the comics.

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