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'Hellboy' preview is a hot item on DVD

March 18, 2004|Erin Ailworth | Times Staff Writer

Forget in-theater trailers and TV ads: "Hellboy" comic fans who want a closer look at the movie can pick up a preview DVD at Best Buy.

The DVD, available in stores as a bonus-with-purchase since March 7, contains 10 minutes of "Hellboy" clips and interviews, plus trailers for "Spider-Man 2" and "Resident Evil: Apocalypse." The footage also is available online.

"The whole purpose of this is not to physically get the DVD into someone's hands," said Brian Lucas, a spokesman for Best Buy. "It's to generate excitement" about the movie's April 2 release.

Because the "Hellboy" comic series is "not as well known as 'Spider-Man' or the 'X-Men' ... we needed a way to introduce our audience to 'Hellboy' beyond TV commercials and movie trailers," said Terry Curtin, head of marketing for Revolution Studios, which partnered with Sony Pictures Entertainment and Best Buy to produce the DVD. Marketers felt Best Buy was an ideal fit, Curtin said, because many of the retailer's customers are frequent moviegoers. More than 10% of the 500,000 manufactured copies disappeared from stores on the first day, Curtin said.

Entertainment marketers are definitely trying to "broaden" the potential audience for "Hellboy," which has a built-in fan base among comic lovers, said Geoffrey Ammer, president of worldwide marketing at Columbia/Tristar Motion Pictures Group.

The movie "is not just a comic-book genre, monster-meets-monster movie," Ammer said. It combines humor, heroes and love, he added.

The promo DVD deal with Best Buy is unusual, if not unprecedented. Ammer said Sony plans to create preview DVDs for other movies but doesn't want to overdo it.

"You don't want to do it on every movie because then it's not fresh and new," he said.

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