YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Video Log

Look for 'Back to School' to Be a Hit in January; : Warner's 'Cobra' May Be Blockbuster for Week

November 21, 1986|DENNIS HUNT | Times Staff Writer

January's biggest home video will probably be "Back to School," which HBO/Cannon will release Jan. 19. This Rodney Dangerfield comedy was the sleeper hit of last summer, grossing more than $80 million. Teen-agers, who made this a theatrical hit, will undoubtedly be lined up in video stores to rent it. Distributors say that HBO/Cannon will ship an impressive 250,000 copies.

CBS/Fox may have a hit with "Ran," the acclaimed 1985 movie by Japan's Akira Kurosawa, which debuts on home video on Jan. 2. The subtitles and the length--160 minutes--may deter some, but the drama--as seamy as anything on "Dallas" and "Dynasty"--may attract renters. "Ran," about a titanic power struggle between a father and his three sons, is an adaptation of "King Lear."

Media is releasing "My American Cousin" on Jan. 28. Critics generally liked this leisurely, coming-of-age Canadian drama, which features excellent performances by unknowns. It wasn't a box-office hit and, in the home-video market, is expected to attract just a modest audience.

OUT THIS WEEK: The blockbuster for the week--and for the month too--is Warner's "Cobra," in which Sylvester Stallone mows down baddies like ten-pins every few minutes. This one is expected to do well for the first few weeks and then tail off, as "Rambo" did.

The fanfare surrounding the summer release of "Pirates" didn't translate into good box office. Word-of-mouth on this Roman Polanski romp was that it wasn't particularly funny. Star Walter Matthau didn't lure customers into theaters and probably won't draw them into video stores either. Polanski, a respected film maker, is the big attraction of this USA Video release.

Those who treasure small, acclaimed, underexposed movies will seek out Karl-Lorimar's "Letter to Brezhnev," an English romantic comedy-drama directed by Chris Bernard. It's about a love affair between a Russian sailor and a young lady from Liverpool. Basically an art-house movie, the home-video release is its first real exposure to a mass audience. The key to its success in this new market will be strong word-of-mouth.

THANKSGIVING WEEK: Home-video companies, assuming that families will be home Thanksgiving weekend and in a movie-watching mood, plan to release some choice films that week. The week's roster includes "Short Circuit," "Vamp," "Poltergeist II: The Other Side," "Violets Are Blue," "Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling" and the controversial "Hail Mary."


(Complied by Billboard magazine). TOP VIDEOCASSETTES, RENTALS 1--"Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (Paramount).

2--"Down and Out in Beverly Hills" (Touchstone).

3--"Out of Africa" (MCA).

4--"The Money Pit" (MCA).

5--"Pretty in Pink" (Paramount).

6--"9 1/2 Weeks" (MGM-UA).

7--"F-X" (HBO-Cannon).

8--"Murphy's Law" (Media).

9--"Sleeping Beauty" (Disney).

10--"Wildcats" (Warner).

TOP VIDEOCASSETTES, SALES 1--"Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (Paramount).

2--"Sleeping Beauty" (Disney).

3--"Jane Fonda's Low Impact Aerobic Workout" (Karl-Lorimar).

4--"Jane Fonda's New Workout" (Karl-Lorimar).

5--"The Sound of Music" (CBS-Fox).

6--"The Cage" (Paramount).

7--"Beverly Hills Cop" (Paramount).

8--"Pinocchio" (Disney).

9--"The Music Man" (Warner).

10--"Playboy Video Centerfold No. 3" (Karl-Lorimar).

Los Angeles Times Articles