Buena Vista Television, which has offered several extended
pay-per-view window titles this year, will distribute a rare 30-day PPV window movie in
Multiple Oscar winner Life Is Beautiful ($57 million
at the box office) will debut Dec 9 via PPV, 30 days after its home video release, said
Buena Vista vice president and general manager Dan Cohen. The film, which won Academy
Awards for best actor (Roberto Benigni) and best foreign-language film, will also be
offered to operators without the controversial, up-front buy-rate guarantee.
"We think it's an important film to see and we wanted
to do everything that we could to help people see it," Cohen said. "This is the
most successful foreign film ever made."
The Italian-language film will be offered to operators in
subtitled or English-language form, he said. Buena Vista will also back the film with a
yet-to-be determined marketing and promotional campaign.
The studio has offered varied windows for its titles this
year in an effort to test the PPV waters. The Walt Disney Co. subsidiary has been very
active in offering guarantee-based, early PPV windows, but has also offered several short
Buena Vista wants to provide the industry with a variety of
window options, said Cohen. He also said the studio would be "open" to offering
other 30-day movies. "Our goal is to continue to offer different PPV windows to see
what works for us and the industry," he said.
But while Life Is Beautiful may have a 30-day
window, many other fourth-quarter titles will carry wider home-video-to-PPV gaps. Most of
the top October and November pay movies come after 45-day windows, including Analyze
This, Forces of Nature, My Favorite Martian and The Thirteenth Floor.
A number of titles, however, have windows that exceed 50
days. They include Ed TV (52 days), The Mummy (59 days), The Matrix
(52 days), The Mod Squad (50 days) and Lost and Found (52 days).
"It's good news that Buena Vista is offering a short
window title, but unfortunately, it's the exception rather than the rule," one PPV
system executive said. "We have to find a better way to lobby the studios for shorter