The San Bernardino County Sun from San Bernardino, California on December 22, 1989 · Page 72
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The San Bernardino County Sun from San Bernardino, California · Page 72

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San Bernardino, California
Issue Date:
Friday, December 22, 1989
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Page 72
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r VIDEO Biggest video news of I, . -. . ... By JIM McCULLAUGH Billboard Magazine m OS ANGELES For I I viewers of home video, I I the year just ending I proved to be a good . , one. Among the devel-opments: a shorter lapse between theatrical exhibition and the release of a home cassette'and a move to $15 as the sale price for recent blockbusters. When the trade got word in early October of a Dec. 14 release date for "When Harry Met Sally . . .," a bona fide $80 million box office "A" title, a debate was triggered as to whether there was a new trend toward shorter theatrical windows for major titles. That title joined "Batman," the summer's slam-dunk box of fice champ, with well above $250 million and "Ghostbusters II" at $1 10 million, as a title that would move to home video in less than six months. "Batman" (with tie-in partner Coca-Cola USA) was being primed as the major fall title at $24.98, while "Ghostbusters II" (also with tie-in partner Coca-Cola USA) was being groomed as a rental title. In addition, several other major summer releases including "Star Trek V," "Lock Up," and . "Nightmare On Elm Street 5" were being prepped for the December rental market, each with indows of less than six months. But while the release pattern was in sharp contrast to patterns Discover cult By MIKE CIDONI Gannett News Service bhb or the first time since I fJL the arrival of John I Waters, there's a new I MmA director who's consis- tently fascinating the critics, shocking the prudish and speaking to a relatively massive cult of U.S. moviegoers. Get to know his name: Pedro Almodovar. ' But cult success as well as a reverence for the irreverent, blatant sexuality and campy humor are about all that tie the two directors. Almodovar's oh-so grown-up 1988 Oscar-nominated comedy, "Women on the Verge of a Ner-i ous Breakdown" (arriving this weekend on $79.98 Orion tapes, early next year on Image laser videodiscs), is one of decade's most-successful foreign-language titles, with a nearly $7 million domestic take. And its popularity has prompted the small, New York-based Spanish-language film distributor Cinevista to rush-release - four of Almodovar's earlier mov Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal's 'When a year ago, when films of that caliber received nine to 12 month windows, many home video observers said the trend was more illusory than real. "Batman," the counter argument went, was considered one of those "once in a decade" movies that compelled a Christmas release in order to capitalize on home video's massive fourth-quarter, gift-giving surge. And "Ghostbusters II" and "When Harry Met Sally . . ." were designed, said their suppliers, to director Pedro Almodovar ies to video. You can see these now, even if you may not be able to find them at a video store near you. Hunt around and you'll bump into a copy of the well-promoted "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown." If you can't find the others, write or call Cinevista Video, 353 W. 39 St., New York, N.Y. 10018,(212)947-4373. Almodovar on video "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" (1988, arrives this week). A dark, rich, hilarious comedy about two women whose lives appear destroyed by an unfaithful lover. So, they seek revenge: first against each other, then against him. It's Almodovar's lightest, but also brightest, work one that twists and turns every imaginable slapstick and woman-scorned cliche into something funky, funny and fresh. Starring Carmen Maura (an Almodovar regular), Fernando Guillen and Julieta Serrano. e "Law of Desire" (1987, $79.95 Cinevista tapes). Not your typical movie love triangle: a hard-core gay-porn director splits with his younger male 1989: push ... - - i Harry Met Sally .. .' set the trend this be "maximized" by being dropped into a late November December period that has been typically lean of A titles in previous years. The focus was home video rental strategy, not windows, said their suppliers as rental activity is extremely active during the holiday period. Irrespective of whether there is a shrinking window, however, the generous supply of big summer blockbusters and the year-round nature of home video sales did trigger a subtle shift in studio release strategies. lover and has a one-night stand with another young man only to bring on a different kind of fatal attraction. A broad and bright, but also dark and intense, comedy about the price of passion. "Matador" (1986, $79.95 Cinevista tapes). A retired bullfighter and a lady lawyer seem like an odd couple; that is, until it's revealed that both are pretty wacked out. So is one of the fighter's students, who is charged with committing a series of brutal murders. More strange and horrifying than funny, it's Almodovar's darkest comedy. e "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" (1985, $79.95 Cinevista tapes). Here's a housewife that deserves to be mad: her husband's an insensitive lug, her younger son is seducing his best friends' fathers, her older son sells heroin so that he and Grandma can flee to the country. And that next-door neighbor whew! if Barbie became a prostitute, this is what she'd be like. It's Almodovar in his "Women-on-the-Verge" mode. If you loved "Women" and you want to see more of the director's work, this is the one to hunt to rush the I I III H I year for quick video releases. Other major summer, $100-million-plus box office films, such as "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" (with tie-in partner Coca-Cola USA), "Lethal Weapon 2," and "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" (with tie-in partner Nabisco), have all been set for first-quarter release not late next summer or fall. Fueling the rethinking, of course, is the now seemingly endless bumper crop of good films, which are shattering box office records with more regularity. Apart from a handful of films NEW RELEASES uncft XI iioo t. nignanu nve. S.B. 881-3315 0 m warn SALES ALL MOVIES hits to tape I Here are this week's top video-cassette rentals as reported in Video Insider magazine. 1. "Batman" a."Gnoefeusiersir 3. "Scrooged" 4. "K-r 5. "Three FugHhwe" 6. "Say Anything" 7. "Working Girt" ."Major League" ' (. "Roger Babbit" 10. "The Dream Team" receiving shorter window treatment, the six- to nine-month window for both sales and rental appears to be holding firm. The first indication of less than $15 major catalog product came in May when Paramount and HBO announced that price point for 15 titles and 10 titles, respectively. In the title mix from the two companies were "Beverly Hills Cop," "Trading Places," "Witness," "Back to School," and " Desperately Seeking Susan." Later, Vestron and I VE would make similar price moves with such titles as "Mad Max," "Mr. Mom," "Rambo: First Blood Part II," and "Extreme Prejudice." The less than $15 price point is viewed as the second or third step now in the supplier repricing process. By the time these titles come out at this price level, the bulk of them have already been out at $ 19.95 for as long as two years, after having been reduced from their original rental price. CALL YOUR SUN ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE TODAY FOB YGURWEEKEK3 vixoccxcrca & RENTALS Mj,... , $000 rental pre-paid plan available I ItflMH Wi HUB PAGE 18 'FRIDAY, December 22, 1989

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