The latest from the home-video front
Mark Down the Hatches Online video store Reel.com has managed to do what James Cameron and two studios couldn’t: lose $1 million on Titanic. The two-year-old company priced the blockbuster at $9.99, which is $3 to $5 below their cost and half Tower’s and Blockbuster Video’s price. After seeing site visits triple in the days before Titanic’s Sept. 1 release, Reel.com has sold almost 300,000 copies. CEO Julie Wainwright calls the discount ”our most efficient deal yet as far as gaining new customers.”
And new enemies. The parent company of the Tower chain is suing Reel.com, charging it with ”predatory pricing practices.” But likening Tower to Goliath whining about David isn’t quite apt, since Reel.com owner Hollywood Entertainment runs the nation’s largest video chain after Blockbuster.
A Tramp Abridged Dogs hear things humans can’t, but that doesn’t explain a strange moment in rerelease copies of Disney’s 1955 cartoon feature Lady and the Tramp. Shortly after a visiting aunt boots the star spaniel out of a baby’s bedroom, Lady turns to the camera and — seemingly apropos of nothing — wrinkles her nose in distaste. Why? There’s something missing from the soundtrack: the aunt warbling an off-key, off-camera rendition of ”Rock-a-Bye Baby” — a sound cue audible in previous video copies but somehow dropped in the new, ”fully restored” edition. By and large, the spiffed-up audio tracks are a marked improvement. Still, cartoon buffs on the Internet have put Disney’s remasterers in the doghouse over the goof. (There’s also a lyric missing from a Christmas carol at the movie’s end.) Disney characterizes the problem as a ”minimal audio discrepancy,” and says consumers can call 1-800-72-DISNEY if they have a bone to pick.