The latest from the home-video front

By Troy Patterson
September 04, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

FIRST CONTACT With respective announcements from Twentieth Century Fox and Paramount that each will finally release inaugural DVD titles this fall, all of the major studios have adopted the year-old digital format. What’s striking is that except for a few hits and classics, their opening slates are mainly composed of glossy genre films — including The Abyss, Predator, and Marked for Death for Fox and The Saint, Kiss the Girls, and Star Trek: First Contact for Paramount. According to Jack Kanne, an executive VP at Paramount Home Video, ”We wanted to appeal to early adapters,” meaning technology-savvy consumers. ”Early adapters are primarily male, and males, by definition, are more action-adventure and sci-fi prone.” In other words, don’t hold your breath waiting for Paramount classics like The Godfather, Chinatown, and Nashville on DVD.

TEN … NINE … EIGHT … Demographic voodoo also seems to be behind the DVD-only release of From the Earth to the Moon, the 12-part space-race miniseries that Tom Hanks brought to HBO last spring. The $120 four-disc package, due Nov. 10, marks the first major DVD exclusive. As HBO Home Video VP Cynthia Rhea says, ”The audience is men aged 25-54, and that’s the audience for DVD. It seemed the right way to make an event out of it.” A six-tape VHS version (for women and children, presumably) comes to stores in mid-1999.

BLOCK PARTY Should Primary Colors leave your appetite for scandal unsated, check out Kenneth W. Starr: A Pornographer for Our Times, the ninth volume of Dr. Susan Block’s Encyclopedia of Sex & Fetishes. The half-hour tape shows Dr. Block — a philosopher, radio/cable-TV sexologist, and, like President Clinton, Yale alum — raunchily lauding the special prosecutor for his efforts to take sex acts ”out of the back rooms of the video stores and put them right out on the front pages of family newspapers.” The vid, filmed last month at a colloquium called the World Pornography Conference, shows Starr look-alike Keith James accepting Block’s 1998 Boobie Award for Best National Pornography Production. Judge Starr was not available for comment.

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