According to today’s NY Times, Warner will be releasing a straight-to-DVD animated movie tentatively called Tales of the Black Freighter five days after Watchmen opens in theaters. It “follows a side Watchmen storyline about a shipwreck… The DVD will also include a documentary-style film called Under the Hood that will delve into the characters’ backstories.”
The story postulates these kinds of promotions as a way to attempt to reverse soft DVD sales — last years’ figures declined for the first time in the history of the format — and keep the amount of shelf space at retailers from being cut back. Personally, I used to buy a lot more DVDs than I do now. But then I realized how many of them I haven’t watched, and I saw how prices would drop significantly if I waited, and I don’t care about their attempts to create a higher-priced (Blu-ray) format.
Ron Sanders, the president of Warner Home Video, said, “We are offering retailers a meaningful opportunity to be involved with the theatrical event, to have a product that will generate foot traffic and sales.” But Warner also gets the benefit of having all these little DVD ads on shelves for the increasingly important second weekend in the theaters. The article reports,
The immediate goal is for the parallel release to help start a potential new movie franchise.
How do you create a franchise out of Watchmen? Isn’t the point a single story? Also, DVD plans are as follows: the original tie-in, the film itself on DVD about four months later, and then an eventual “‘ultimate’ edition in which the two are edited together into one megamovie.” Director Zack Snyder says, “The ÃƒÂ¼berfans of this property are going to go crazy for that.” Does Watchmen have “uberfans”? Or does writer Alan Moore? That’s not all:
In addition, the studio plans a dozen 22- to 26-minute Webisodes to help make the complex story easier for the uninitiated to digest. Called “The Watchmen Motion Comic,” it will be a panel-by-panel slide show of the graphic novel narrated by an actor.
Someone reads the comic to you? Wow, it used to be that comics were considered for the subliterate; now, they’ve even dumbed that down.