'Hercules' & 'Xena' to Be Unleashed
rsal Studios Home Video here has announced a release date of Oct. 14 for "Hercules & Xena: The Battle for Mount Olympus." The animated, direct-to-video feature stars the voices of Kevin Sorbo and Lucy Lawless, who respectively play Hercules and Xena in Universal Television's popular "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" and "Xena: Warrior Princess."
The release will be backed by fall television spots; on-line, trade and consumer print advertising; and cross promotions with such companies as Tropicana, Carl's Jr. restaurants and Topps Comics. It will also be supported by a promotional road show with stops in major cities and a rebate program tied to other Universal titles. Point-of-purchase materials will include standees, banners, buttons, color sheets and loops. Order cutoff for the cassette is Sept. 22. Suggested retail price is $19.98.
Buena Vista Puts ESPN in Game
BURBANK, Calif. -- Buena Vista Home Video here has announced the incorporation of ABC Video into its organization, with an ESPN video line to be the first product of the new relationship.
The first releases from ESPN Home Video, due this fall, originate from deals with the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing and Championship Auto Racing Teams. Other releases will be born of current ESPN programming like SportsCenter and coverage of the X-Games, an extreme-sports competition.
The ESPN Home Video line will consist initially of about 100 titles, most priced at $14.99 retail, said Mitch Koch, senior vice president and general manager of Buena Vista Home Video.
Mike Aufricht, Buena Vista's vice president of retail marketing for supermarkets and drug stores, cited the possibility of promotions tied to ESPN's coverage of regional sporting events as a plus for supermarkets. "Something that may not play as well across the whole country may not be something that a Wal-Mart or a Walgreens wants to handle," he said. "But it may be perfect for somebody who is just in a single metropolitan market."
Buena Vista has also announced a Sept. 30 street date for Oprah Winfrey's first video project, "Oprah Winfrey -- Make the Connection," an examination of the talk-show host's daily routine and her tips on self-improvement. The prebook cutoff is Aug. 19. Suggested retail price is $22.99. According to Buena Vista, all of Winfrey's proceeds from the video will go to A Better Chance, a program that helps send inner-city students to top prep and public schools.
MGM Set to Release 'Toyland' SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- "Babes in Toyland," a new animated, direct-to-video version of the Toby Bluth book, will hit stores Oct. 14, distributor MGM Home Entertainment here said in a prepared statement. The film stars the voices of Christopher Plummer, James Belushi and Bronson Pinchot. MGM is backing the release with a $3 million national print and TV ad campaign, cross-promotional trailers and inserts, a mail-in coupon in each cassette for a free plush Humpty Dumpty toy and point-of-purchase posters and header displays. Suggested retail is $19.98. Order cutoff is Sept. 16.
PolyGram to Roll Out Kid Vids NEW YORK -- PolyGram Video here has announced the upcoming sell-through releases of several children's titles: Kratts' Creatures' "Checkin' Out Chimps" and "Sharks!," both with a release date of Oct. 21 at a suggested retail of $12.95. Order cutoff is Oct. 3.
Richard Scarry's "The First Halloween Ever," priced at $9.95, is slated for release Sept. 9, with a cutoff of Aug. 22. "The Best Christmas Surprise Ever" is due out Oct. 7 for $9.95. Preorder is by Sept. 19. "The Best Richard Scarry Collection Ever," volumes one and two, and "The Best Collection of Bananas in Pajamas," volumes one and two, will be released Aug. 26 for $19.95. Preorders for both are Aug. 8. "The Best Richard Scarry Collection Ever" and "The Best Collection of Bananas in Pajamas" will be available for rental as well.