Sinbad Hopes to Sail Away from Box Office Losses

With DVD sales often matching or exceeding box office take, Hollywood studios are increasingly looking to revenues from DVD/VHS sales to reach profitability. DreamWorks; execs are certainly hoping that proves to be the case with Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.

A box-office misfire, the $60 million Sinbad to date has recouped just $26 million in wide release. The studio is hoping to repeat last year’s marketing push when it sold 5 million DVDs of its modestly performing ani title Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.

The Sinbad DVD includes a host of the ususal DVD-type extras: a six-minute interactive extra, Cyclops Island, voiced by the film’s stars Brad Pitt and Catherine Zeta-Jones; three set-top games including Sinbad’s Sailing Challenge; DVD-ROM games; a making-of featurette; and the de rigeur DVD commentary by directors Patrick Gilmore and Tim Johnson.

Because first-week sales of DVDs have become as big a bragging point as weekend grosses, D’Works is offering special promotions to boost early sales. While some studios are using on-line printable money-off coupons, for the Sinbad release each VHS and DVD package will include an instant-win game. In addition, promotional partners such as Baskin-Robbins, M Candy, Applebee Restaurants, Hewlett-Packard and others will be giving added exposure to the release. Intel and Atari Inc., which make the Sinbad PC game, will run TV advertising a week after the DVD street date.