The release of "The Two Jakes," the further adventures of private eye J. J. Gittes, is expected to prompt renewed interest at home-video stores in the film it follows, "Chinatown," which came out in 1974 and has been available on cassette since 1979. Many who have seen "Jakes" contend that seeing the original first will help moviegoers better understand and appreciate the new film.
Paramount Home Video has not planned a special promotion of "Chinatown," but individual stores apparently will do so, as indicated by the requests to Paramount from various retailers for "Chinatown" promotional materials, such as posters.
"When these sequels come out, there's often renewed interest in the original movies," said Music Plus marketing executive Angie Diehl. "Stores do order more copies in anticipation of this new demand."
For instance, when the "Back to the Future" sequels hit theaters, MCA/Universal was able to sell additional copies of the original to retailers and distributors. It helped that the consensus was that the sequels made more sense after seeing the first one.
Anticipating that "Two Jakes" would be released last December, Paramount had advertised last fall that it was dropping the price of "Chinatown" from $24.95 to $19.95. But the release of "Two Jakes" was delayed, so the promotion effort was wasted.