Warner’s Tom and Jerry do that wizard thing
With the X-mas video rush over, studios seem to be gearing up to push through some of their lesser-hyped titles. For example, on March 12, Warner Home Video will bow with Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring, a new 2-D animated direct-to-video feature starring WB’s slaphappy twosome. For this outing, WB has given its cat-and-mouse team a Lord of the Rings makeover, with Tom trying to track down Jerry after he makes off with his wizard master’s magic ring.
Prebooking on February 12, Magic Ring will be available on both DVD (US$19.98) and VHS (US$14.95), and will be supported by an ad campaign covering all of AOL-Time Warner’s key media outlets. Additionally, promo partner NewKidCo will offer a US$6 rebate to consumers who purchase both its Game Boy title based on Magic Ring and a copy of the movie on either DVD or VHS.
Bandai readies Escaflowne for the cinema
Going where few anime distributors have gone before, Bandai Entertainment is planning a limited theatrical release this month of Escaflowne, a feature film based on the same-name anime show that aired on Fox Kids in the U.S. and on YTV in Canada in fall 2000. Aimed at teens 15 and up, the as-yet-unrated Escaflowne will open on January 25 in five markets–San Francisco, L.A., Chicago, New York and Vancouver.
In part, Bandai’s rationale for releasing the film theatrically is to raise awareness for the title’s early summer release on DVD, says Bandai marketing producer Jerry Chu. Though the company is using Escaflowne as a test case, Chu doesn’t know if it will implement a similar strategy for any of its other anime properties. That’s not to say it wouldn’t like to. Unfortunately, Bandai, which boasts a catalog of thousands of hours of anime programming, has had difficulty finding usable film prints from Japan for some of the shows it distributes in North America. Case in point is the Gundam feature Char’s Attack, which Bandai was hoping to put out theatrically, but will likely release on DVD in August instead.