Looney Tunes, Hamilton Mattress Spring to DVD

A duck, a rabbit, an aardvark and a beagle top today’s list of home video releases as Warner Bros.’ live-action/animation hybrid Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Barry Purves’ multi-award-winning stop-motion animated short Hamilton Mattress and the latest Peanuts adventure hit the shelves on DVD and VHS.

Unlike Space Jam before it, Looney Tunes: Back in Action failed to draw an audience at the box office but the home video release should help the studio recoup more of the $80 million production budget. Warner Home Video is releasing it with a host of DVD extras including an exclusive Looney Tunes short not available anywhere else.

In addition to Bugs, Daffy and many more of your favorite cartoon characters, Back in Action stars Brendan Fraser, who teams up with Jenna Elfman to find his missing adventurer father (Timothy Dalton) and a fabled precious stone. Steve Martin, Heather Locklear, John Cleese and Joan Cusack also make appearances.

Bonus DVD features include the new Looney Tunes short, Whizzard of Ow, as well as alternate endings, a DVD ROM with 26 minutes of additional scenes, a behind-the-scenes tour of the set hosted by Bugs and Daffy, and a look at the film’s special effects. The title lists for $27.95 DVD and $19.96 VHS.

If you missed airings of Hamilton Mattress on the BBC in the U.K. and HBO Family in the U.S., you’ll certainly want to pick up the release from MGM Home Entertainment. Created by the BBC Animation Unit, the film follows an aardvark named Sludger, who heads off to the big city to follow his dream of becoming a famous musician. He changes his name to Hamilton Mattress after seeing it printed on a billboard and becomes the star attraction at a club in Beak City. But image is everything and Sludger learns that being an aardvark in a city full of birds is not easy, even when you’ve got talent as big as your heart. The 30-minute short features the voices of actors Lindsay Duncan (Under The Tuscan Sun), Henry Goodman (Notting Hill) and William Hootkins (Star Wars, Town & Country), and a soundtrack produced by Peter Gabriel’s record label, Real World Works. Director Barry Purves is now serving as animation lead on Peter Jackson’s high-profile remake of King Kong.

Hamilton Mattress won the 2002 Jury Prize for Best Animated Film at the Chicago Int’l Film Festival, the 2002 Audience Award for Best International Short Film at the Florida Film Festival and the Grand Prix at the 2002 Annecy Int’l Animation Festival.

DVD bonus materials include interviews with writers John Webster and Anna Farthing, a featurette on the clay animation process, a behind-the-scenes look at voice recording sessions, deleted scenes, audio commentary and a weblink to the film’s website. MGM Home Entertainment will support the release with a $4.00 IRC offer inserted in 12 million Wendy’s Kids’ Meals. The title carries a suggested retail price of $14.95 on DVD and $9.94 on VHS.

Also making their home video debut today are the latest Peanuts special, Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown; Dora The Explorer: Dora’s Egg Hunt; and Nick Jr. Celebrates Spring, all from Paramount Home Entertainment.

In Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown, Charlie’s baseball team is in danger of continuing its 900-game losing streak when Lucy signs up to play again. Desperate to coach a winning season, he trades his best player and his loyal pal, Snoopy, to Pepperment Patty in exchange for five new players. Featured on the disc are the bonus episodes "Charlie Brown’s All Stars" and "It’s Spring Training, Charlie Brown." The DVD runs 73 minutes and lists for $14.99.

Dora’s Egg Hunt contains the bonus episodes "El Dia De Las Madres," "Dora la Musico" and "Pablo’s Flute," as well as the Dora’s Egg Adventure game. It runs 98 minutes and lists for $16.99 on DVD.

Nick Jr. Celebrates Spring also features Dora’s Egg Hunt, as well as the Max & Ruby episode "Max’s Chocolate Chicken," the Little Bill installments "The Skating Lesson" and "Mr. Moth," "Blues’ Clues: Our Neighborhood Festival" and "Rugrats: Bow Wow Wedding." Running 110 minutes, it retails for $16.99 on DVD.