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COMING ATTRACTIONS DVDS OFFER GENERIC, SUPER EDITIONS.

Byline: Greg Hernandez Staff Writer

When Mac Sandan went to the Best Buy store in Woodland Hills this week to pick up a copy of the new "King Kong" DVD, he paused for several minutes to inspect two different versions of the film.

One disc, selling for $15.99, was no-frills with just the three-hour epic on it and little else. The other was a $22.99 two-disc special edition filled with background material, including the post-production video diaries of director Peter Jackson.

"They've got so many different versions," observed the 67-year-old Sandan, a frequent DVD buyer. "Sometimes I get the ones with the extras if it's really, really worth it."

Sandan, a resident of Canoga Park, ended up purchasing the generic version Tuesday. It could end up being a shrewd move. Jackson has already publicly discussed plans for a more deluxe special edition of "King Kong" that would include such things as deleted scenes and director's commentary, which are not included in the current special edition.

Hollywood's love affair with multiple DVD special editions of certain movies continues unabated. Next week, a deluxe edition of "Crash" debuts on DVD, more than six months after a less souped-up version of that title first hit shelves and only four weeks after sales of the more basic DVD enjoyed a major spike in sales after the film won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

"You do see some grumbling from consumers, but not enough of a push back that it has slowed the studios down from spinning out more special super-duper editions," said Paul Sweeting, editor-at-large for Video Business magazine, an industry trade publication.

So far, the two-disc "King Kong" is outselling the single-disc offering. According to the hot-sellers list on Amazon.com on Thursday afternoon, the special edition was No. 2 while the regular version was in seventh place.

"A lot of people who would call themselves true movie aficionados understand the pattern by now," said Brian Lucas, a spokesman for the Best Buy chain. "For any Peter Jackson release, you can get the basic, the deluxe or the super-deluxe. It becomes a matter of how compelling the extras are. (Jackson) films so much and documents so much."

Universal Studios Home Entertainment, which released "King Kong" on DVD this week, has not officially confirmed that an even more enhanced DVD will even be hitting stores in the fall.

But there is little doubt it will happen, especially given Jackson's track record with his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, which had several incarnations and was eagerly snatched up by fans.

Sweeting said each new edition with increased bells and whistles gives a movie title a new lease on retail life. Best Buy stores, which attract many avid movie collectors, is among the retailers who will typically give a major title prominent display each time.

"When you put out a movie like `King Kong,' you'll get a certain amount of shelf space, but once sales slow down, you'll start to lose that shelf space to other titles and that's deadly," Sweeting said. "How much you sell is directly related to how well it's seen by the consumers."

Lionsgate is still enjoying robust post-Oscar sales for its original "Crash" DVD, which was No. 6 on the Amazon.com list Thursday. But the two-disc director's cut edition, with a suggested retail price of $26.98, hits store shelves Tuesday. It will include deleted scenes, four featurettes, music montages, a music video and commentary from director Paul Haggis, co-writer Bobby Moresco and actor Don Cheadle.

"When `Crash' comes out, we'll give it good placement in the stores again because it's high-profile and our customers will be interested in it," Lucas said. "The person who went out and bought `Crash' right after the Oscars maybe doesn't need all the extras. It's really kind of a self-selecting customer base."

greg.hernandez(at)dailynews.com

(818) 713-3758

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2 photos

Photo:

(1 -- color) ``King Kong'' is available on DVD, but plans for a special deluxe edition, with deleted scenes and commentary from director Peter Jackson, are in the works and may be worth the wait.

Weta Digital Ltd./Universal Studios

(2 -- color) A deluxe edition of ``Crash,'' the Academy Award-winning movie for Best Picture, will be released next week, six months after its DVD debut.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 31, 2006
Words:717
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