The New York Times delves into the release of the direct-to-DVD Tales of the Black Freighter, which drops the week after the Watchmen movie comes out next spring. With DVD sales growing softer, Warner’s hoping that by releasing a tie-in with a theatrical event, they can help jumpstart the market and retailer interest:
The second film, tentatively called “Tales of the Black Freighter,” follows a side “Watchmen” storyline about a shipwreck and will arrive in stores five days after the main movie rolls out in theaters. The DVD will also include a documentary-style film called “Under the Hood” that will delve into the characters’ backstories.
Warner, the No. 1 distributor of DVDs, bills the effort as a way to renew retail excitement for little silver discs now that the once-booming market has matured.
After years of blistering growth, domestic DVD sales fell 3.2 percent last year to $15.9 billion, according to Adams Media Research, the first annual drop in the medium’s history. While it is still a blockbuster business, any decline is cause for concern because DVD sales can account for as much as 70 percent of revenue for a new film. Results for the first quarter this year were mixed, with overall sales flat but notable softness for some new releases like Warner’s box office hit “I Am Legend.”
Freighter will be animated, but according to a Warner rep has a budget that’s 30 percent to 50 percent higher than a typical direct-to-DVD project. Watchmen direct Zack Snyder says he was happy to do the DVD, because it meant he could use more material from the graphic novel.