Direct to video is especially big during the fourth quarter. And, in the upcoming season, more supermarket product with a fourth-quarter impact is coming from all major studios.
lowed by the animated feature "Faeries" Sept. 26. The latter film, about two children lost in Fairyland, debuted on cable's Starz! in January. "'Faeries' will succeed or fail based on word of mouth," said Martin Blythe, Paramount vice president of publicity. "We think it's strong enough to become an evergreen title, both as a rental and as a sell-through impulse purchase, because of the great box art and the celebrity voices." These include Jeremy Irons, Kate Winslet, Dougray Scott and Jane Horrocks.
Oct. 3 Paramount and Nickelodeon present the first "Blue's Clues" feature, "Blue's Big Musical Movie." It has six new songs and features Ray Charles voicing a character called G-Clef.
Both Halloween and Christmas markets are being supplied by Universal Studios Home Video, Universal City, Calif. "Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman," a DTV animated feature that again recasts the rodents in Abbott & Costello roles, arrives in September for Halloween. Then, Oct. 31, comes "The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus," another DTV animated feature. Based on a book by Oz-author L. Frank Baum, this entry has voices by Hal Holbrook, Dixie Carter and Robby Benson. And a successful franchise continues Nov. 28 as "The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire" is released, with a new character voiced by Michael York. Post Cereal will be a promotional partner, offering rebates on tape purchases.
Holiday product from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Beverly Hills, Calif., includes "The Night of the Headless Horseman" Sept. 5 for Halloween and "Olive the Other Reindeer" Oct. 31 for Christmas. The animated story of a dog who wants to help Santa, the latter features the voices of Drew Barrymore, Ed Asner, Peter MacNicol and Dan Castellenata.
DreamWorks Home Entertainment, Universal City, Calif., has scheduled its first DTV movie, "Joseph: King of Dreams," for Nov. 7. The animated Biblical tale is "one of the greatest stories of all time and the perfect holiday release," said DreamWorks worldwide head Kelley Avery. "It leverages the success of 'Prince of Egypt,' which was the No. 3 seller last year and the No. 1 seller for the holiday period." The day-and-date DVD will be very family oriented, Avery said, with read-along and sing-along features as well as downloadable activities like trivia games, coloring sheets and Christmas card designs. Voice talent for the film includes Ben Affleck, Mark Hamill, Steven Weber, Judith Light, and Jodi Benson of "Little Mermaid."
"Franklin and the Green Knight," starring the cartoon turtle airing on the Nick Jr. cable channel, arrives Oct. 3 from USA Home Entertainment, New York. The feature-length film has three original songs.
Warner Home Video, Burbank, Calif., adds a new Halloween character to its more familiar franchises. "The Scarecrow," arriving Aug. 22, has a title character who wants to become human after falling in love with a beautiful girl. Oct. 3 is set for the new "Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders," with a theme song performed by Jennifer Love Hewitt and rebate promotions with Pepsi and Frito-Lay. The first "Dexter's Laboratory" feature, "Ego Trip," streets Oct. 17. A new line of toys based on the Cartoon Network character will also be available from Trendmasters. Oct. 24 comes the first "Batman Beyond" feature, "Return of the Joker," backed by heavy multimedia support.