The Star Wars Trilogy on DVD September 21
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
"Star Wars Trilogy," one of the most-requested DVD episodic film franchises, is expected to be released as a four-disc DVD box set Sept. 21, with a global rollout on DVD expected within days of the domestic release, according to Lucasfilm Ltd. and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
The trilogy featuring the classic franchise films "Star Wars," "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" will be released on three DVD discs, with a fourth disc likely to hold a newly made documentary about the "Star Wars" franchise and never-before-seen footage, among several other bonus materials, said Jim Ward, Lucasfilm's vp marketing and distribution and the DVD trilogy's executive producer.
"We are currently in the process of restoring and remastering all three titles for the DVD release, so we're still working on details of the marketing strategy," Ward said. "But I believe that it is safe to say that it will receive tremendous exposure across all media."
Lucasfilm and Fox chose the September release date to maximize on holiday gift buying during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment president Mike Dunn said.
"We sold about 17 million VHS 'Star Wars' units during two fall release periods in '95 and '97," he said. "With that in mind, we designed our release strategy to pick the best release date that had the most gentle sales curve decline on home video, and that's how we got to the September release date."
Combining huge consumer demand for the "Star Wars" franchise with being first out of the gate during the busy fourth-quarter home video market, Fox and Lucasfilm are hoping to cash in on DVD sales throughout the holidays and up until the theatrical release of "Star Wars: Episode III," which set for release nationwide May, 25, 2005, Dunn and Ward said.
Each of the three films in the "Star Wars Trilogy" has been digitally restored and remastered by THX for sound and picture quality, Ward said.
"First and foremost, the DVDs will deliver the very best possible sound and picture and take advantage of everything the medium can offer," Ward said. "On top of that, we are creating added-value material that gets inside the creation of the 'Star Wars' films in a fresh and fun way. We want watching this DVD collection to be as memorable as seeing the movies for the first time."
The films of the "Star Wars Trilogy" will be sold exclusively as a collection at a still-to-be-determined retail price and not separately, Fox executives said. However, retailers have been known to break up collector's DVD box sets and sell individual titles after the first month out on store shelves.
After years of waiting, hype and hope, the rumors can at last be laid to rest: the holy grail of DVD will finally be released this September. Yes, it is the original Star Wars trilogy: Episodes IV: A New Hope, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
While a full press release has yet to be issued, both Lucasfilm and Fox Home Entertainment confirmed today that the trilogy will touch down on September 21st as a four-disc set, available in both anamorphic widescreen and full screen versions, containing the three films plus a bonus fourth disc with extras, a la the top-selling Adventures of Indiana Jones set released late last year. The films will not be sold separately, at least initially, according to Fox representatives.
While the long-held rumor was that George Lucas would wait until the completion of Star Wars Episode III, due in theaters in May 2005, to release the original trilogy on DVD, Lucasfilm VP of Market Jim Ward revealed today that Lucas "found some time" in his schedule and "was willing and eager to make it happen."
Today's announcement came early and without finalized specs due in part to the intense anticipation amongst consumers for the titles. "We are currently in the process of restoring and remastering all three titles for the DVD release, so we're still working on details of the marketing strategy," revealed Ward, not before adding with knowing understatement, "but I believe that it is safe to say that it will receive tremendous exposure across all media."
According to Fox Home Entertainment president Mike Dunn, both the studio and Lucasfilm arrived at the September 21st date to gain maximum exposure during the holiday season: "We sold about 17 million VHS 'Star Wars' units during two fall release periods in '95 and '97," he explained. "With that in mind, we designed our release strategy to pick the best release date that had the most gentle sales curve decline on home video."
While the full details on what extras will be included in the set are still pending, Ward promises that Lucasfilm "are creating added-value material that gets inside the creation of the 'Star Wars' films in a fresh and fun way. We want watching this DVD collection to be as memorable as seeing the movies for the first time." He also confirmed that rumors that Lucas would not contribute new audio commentaries to the set are false, although there are as of yet no exact details on which films will receive commentary tracks, and who will be among the participants.
Of course, the big question mark amongst fans has always been whether Lucas would allow the original, unaltered original editions of the trilogy to also be released on DVD. Not possible, said Ward, who confirmed that the upcoming set will feature only the 1997 Special Edition versions of each film. "What George did in 1997," Ward explains, "was [to] make the movie he originally wanted to make."
So what are the faithful to do if they don't want to watch the altered 1997 editions of the trilogy? Either give in, or don't buy. "We realize there's a lot of debate out there," says Ward. "But this is not a democracy. We love our fans, but this is about art and filmmaking. [George] has decided that the sole version he wants available is this one."