Of the movies nominated for best-picture Oscar, PolyGram's "Four Weddings and a Funeral" is the only one that will benefit instantly in the home video market--because it's the only one already on tape.
After a long, successful run as a rental, PolyGram recently introduced the romantic comedy, which stars Hugh Grant, to the sales market, dropping the price to $20. That move had a dual purpose: to take advantage of Valentine's Day shopping and, since it was considered a lock to grab some key nominations, to cash in on the pre-Oscar hoopla.
It's rare that a film nominated for best picture is already on the sales market. But "Four Weddings" came out early enough last year to make it possible.
The other best picture nominees will cash in on home video later. Because of the nominations, "The Shawshank Redemption" (release date: April 11) and "Quiz Show" (release date: April 18) will now be much more attractive to renters, so retailers will stock more copies than the films' modest box-office performances would otherwise have dictated.
The home-video release date of "Pulp Fiction," which has been a box-office hit, hasn't been announced yet. But it's likely to come out in April or May.
Thirteen nominations won't make much difference to "Forrest Gump," however, which was already a certain home-video blockbuster. It's due April 27 at $23. Box-office gross is the easiest gauge of home-video success--the larger the gross, the bigger the tape orders. Clearly, with a $300-million gross, "Gump" doesn't need help from any nominations.
Best picture nominations translate most easily into rental revenues but there are also revenue boosts for movies featuring nominees in major acting roles. "The Client," starring best actress nominee Susan Sarandon, should see the quickest results. Already a rental hit--No. 3 on the Billboard chart--it now may surge to the top.
"Blue Sky," starring best actress contender Jessica Lange, should really benefit from the nomination. It did hardly anything at the box office and would have sunk into oblivion, except that Lange kept piling up acting trophies--including a Golden Globe and the L.A. Film Critics Assn. award. Now when it comes out on home video April 25, it's destined to be a Top 10 rental.
When are some of the other big Oscar-nominated movies coming to home video?
Most came out at the end of last year and won't be in the rental market before late April, including "Nobody's Fool" (best actor nominee Paul Newman), "The Madness of King George" (best actor nominee Nigel Hawthorne), "Nell" (best actress nominee Jodie Foster), "Tom and Viv" (best actress nominee Miranda Richardson) and "Little Women" (best actress nominee Winona Ryder).
Woody Allen's comedy "Bullets Over Broadway," featuring supporting nominees Jennifer Tilly, Dianne Wiest and Chazz Palminteri, probably will be released in May.
'Hoop' Dreaming: The next best thing to getting an Oscar nomination is creating a furor by not getting one. "Hoop Dreams," the acclaimed Fine Line Features documentary tracing the careers of two young Chicago basketball players, was a long-shot for a best picture nomination but seemed to be a shoo-in in the documentary category. Surprisingly, though, it was overlooked.
In the last few days, the media have been full of stories about this startling snub. A nomination wouldn't have generated this much publicity.
This notoriety will come in handy when "Hoop Dreams" hits video, reportedly in April, according to a source at New Line Home Video, which is releasing it for Fine Line. This suddenly high-profile movie should be the most popular documentary to hit the home-video market in years.
So far it has grossed more than $3 million, not bad for a three-hour documentary. But it was re-released last week to 250 theaters--a lot for a documentary--which should increase the gross considerably.
Special Interest: Patti Davis, the renegade daughter of former President Ronald and Nancy Reagan, has taken the LaToya Jackson, offend-your-family route by doing a nude celebrity video. She says she and her parents have reconciled but they can't be too happy with this one-hour mix of nude sequences and Davis' philosophizing. Still, in the lucrative soft-core porn genre, the "Patti Davis Celebrity Centerfold" should be a big seller. From Playboy at $20.
PolyGram's annual, post-Super Bowl, rush-release homage to the champ is due out Wednesday, "San Francisco 49ers: Super Bowl XXIX Champions." Most of the sales of this $20-tape--expected to be between 150,000-200,000 units--will, of course, come in the San Francisco area.
The remarkable three-hour documentary, "The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl," comes out March 15 on KINO. It's about the filmmaker, now 91, who made the notorious Nazi propaganda film "Triumph of the Will."