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Breaking the Second Wind

A lot of movies are getting a second chance for success on video and DVD:

    Films that failed to come close to the $100 million mark in theaters can sometimes catch their second wind in DVD and video sales and rentals. Comedies “Office Space” (1999) and Ice Cube’s “Friday” are examples of second-wind flicks.

    “Films offered in limited release and only marginally promoted, and films with dark or heady messages that studios think audiences can’t handle” are other examples of rental films that can hit it big the second time around, says Jim Farrelly, director of the film minor program at the University of Dayton.

    ….Studios count on these second chances. VHS and DVD rental and retail count for the largest percentage of a studio’s revenues, according to Randy Hargrove at Blockbuster’s corporate headquarters in Dallas, Texas.

    “Renting a movie is less a commitment than going out to a movie,” Hargrove says.

    Video and DVD rentals and sales are “a deciding factor when it comes to making sequels,” says Pat Moran, an analyst at Alexander and Associates in New York City. He says studio heads would have never been interested in making “Shanghai Knights” (2003) with Owen Wilson and Jackie Chan if “Shanghai Noon” (2000) had not caught their attention with cash made from video and DVD sales and rentals.

    Similarly, 1989’s “Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives!” would never have emerged from the “dark side” if 1983’s first “Eddie” flick had not done so well on video, observes Keith Simanton, managing editor at IMDb.com, adding that the “Eddie” sequel may have been the first major second-wind movie.

    Even blockbusters can arise from video success. “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” did reasonably well at the box office in 1997 but made a killing when it became available to rent, prompting two increasingly successful sequels.

    A big renter from 2002 worth noting is “Monster’s Ball.” Moran argues Halle Berry’s Oscar probably prompted interest in the film, since “Ball” made a mere $22.9 million in initial box office sales. Also, Sean Penn’s Oscar nomination for “I Am Sam” (2001) boosted interest in that film when it became available to rent.

    Moran says horror movies typically do better the second time around, which explains the success of 2002 renters “Thirteen Ghosts” and “Jeepers Creepers.”

    ….Experts also say the future of second-wind movies is in DVD sales. “DVDs have new material, they offer insight and ‘insider’ information and they allow access to the proverbial ‘favorite scenes’ without excessive remote manipulation,” Farrelly says.

    Hill adds, “With outlets competing with increasingly lower prices for DVDs, it’s probable that people will be buying second-wind DVDs they’ve never seen instead of renting them.” [CNN]

With DVD prices anywhere from $5-$20, it’s usually cheaper to own the DVD than for two people to see it once in the theater, and almost as cheap as renting – cheaper if you add in late fees.

We just don’t get out to the movies very often due to our combined schedules and responsibilities – when it comes out on DVD it’s like the theatrical release for us. I also notice that “spectacle” movies fare better than “story” movies on DVD: with stories, once you know them you know them, but a spectacle can live forever.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected], Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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