Sinbad Sails Home

DreamWorks’ latest animated adventure tale may have failed to make a splash at the box office, but for animated movies especially, the real money is in home video. We’ll see how one of the world’s most famous seafarers fares amidst today’s deployment of DVD and VHS releases as Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas sets anchor on retail shelves.

Sinbad stars Brad Pitt as the voice of as the daring, swashbuckling thief of legend who laughs in the face of death but cowers from responsibility. After being reunited with boyhood pal Proteus (Joseph Fiennes), Sinbad is seduced by villainous goddess of chaos Ersis (Michelle Pfeiffer) into betraying his friend and his homeland by stealing the mystical Book of Peace. He also develops an interest in Proteus’ beautiful fiancée, Marina (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who ends up joining him on a treacherous journey that will prove the ultimate test of friendship and character.

The DVD’s bonus menu includes a six-minute interactive experience titled Cyclops Island, voiced by Pitt and Zeta-Jones; three set-top games including Sinbad’s Sailing Challenge; DVD-ROM games; a making-of featurette; and commentary by directors Patrick Gilmore and Tim Johnson.

With the release, DreamWorks is hoping to repeat the performance of last year’s Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, which did lackluster box office but sold 5 million DVDs. Because first-week home video sales have become as big a bragging point as opening weekend grosses, the studio is offering special promotions to boost early sales. Each VHS and DVD package will include an instant-win game. In addition, promotional partners such as Baskin-Robbins, Applebee Restaurants, Hewlett-Packard and others will be giving added exposure to the release. To add to the marketing blitz, Intel and Atari Inc., which make the Sinbad PC game, will begin running TV advertising next week.

Also Released today:

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Special Extended Edition (New Line).

Four-disc set with 43 minutes of additional footage. Extras include four commentary tracks, 13 original documentaries, two interactive maps, galleries with audio commentaries, an interactive sound demonstration of the Battle at Helm’s Deep and more. List Price is $39.99.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Limited Edition Collector’s Gift Set (New Line).

Includes all four-discs of the Special Extended Edition in an elaborate box with a hand-painted, full-color, polystone Gollum as “Smeagol” figurine sculpted by Weta workshop under the direction of director Peter Jackson and visual effects artist Richard Taylor. There’s also a DVD and 42-page book that takes viewers behind the scenes to show how the collectible was created. It retails for the suggested price of $79.92.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (Paramount)

Extras include commentary by director Jan De Bont, six deleted scenes, an alternate ending, music videos by Korn and The Davey Brother, and five featurettes on the film’s training, weapons and vehicles, visual effects, stunts and musical score. Lists for $29.99.