Montgomery turned to Fox and Saban, who are partners in the Fox Kids Network. "They got the deal," he says, "because they moved faster than any of their competitors." The Fox Kids Network was already airing the animated "Casper" TV series, providing a convenient cross-promotional tie-in.
Saban, which made its name with the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, guaranteed Montgomery creative approval over script, casting and marketing decisions. But of equal importance to Montgomery, Saban committed to releasing its "Casper" video in the fall, so it would be available for back-to-school purchases and on the shelves in time for Halloween, which is, after Christmas, the biggest mass-merchandise holiday.
"It isn't often that one of the hottest worldwide franchises becomes available, so we stepped up to the plate big-time," Saban Chairman Haim Saban says. "We've created special effects and animation that are equal to those in the theatrical release. When we showed [a rough cut of the film] to the Wal-Mart people, we got a standing ovation. . . . I'm betting we're going to sell at least 10 million videos worldwide."
That tally would rival the numbers Disney achieved for its most recent Aladdin direct-to-video sequel, "King of Thieves," which shipped 10.5 million videos last year.