In a rare pay-per-view move, The Walt Disney Co.'s
Buena Vista subsidiary will offer the animated Doug's First Movie to operators
Based on the cartoon series currently airing on Nickelodeon
and broadcast, the movie is the first Disney animated title to hit PPV in years. The film,
which generated $20 million at the box office, will feature a short, 45-day PPV window,
but it will be offered as a sell-through -- or discounted for purchase -- home-video
title, the studio said.
"We're enthused: It's a good family film for
PPV," Buena Vista Pay TVvice president and general manager Dan Cohen said.
The move is rare for Disney, which usually refrains from
offering its animated movies to PPV. Most of Disney's classic animated titles -- as
well as its most recent animated blockbusters such as A Bug's Life, Mulan
and Tarzan -- bypassed PPV after healthy runs in home video.
But unlike Schindler's List -- which was pulled
from PPV after producer Steven Spielberg objected to the movie being marketing alongside
more violent PPV fare -- Cohen said Disney's decision to withhold its films from PPV
is not an indictment against the industry.
"For us, it's not a comment against PPV. [Disney]
keeps the movies for its own properties, like Disney Channel and [broadcast network]
ABC," he said.
The company did, however, decide to offer operators Doug's
First Film, the box-office take of which was far below that of most Disney-animated
releases. "It's a good family film, but it didn't have the box office like Tarzan
or A Bug's Life," Cohen said.
Nevertheless, he was confident that the movie will perform
well and, hopefully, open the doors for more commercially successful animated movies and
family fare to appear on PPV in the future.
Past family-based films and events have had mixed success
via PPV, falling short of the performances generated by action-adventure movies and
sports. "I'm hopeful that this can prove that family-oriented movies can perform
well for the PPV industry," Cohen added.
The move is one of several that Buena Vista has made
recently to test the PPV waters. The studio has been very active in offering
guarantee-based early PPV windows, but it has also offered several short-window titles.
The studio is offering 45-day, no-guarantee windows for its
August She's All That title ($63 million at the box office), and it is
expected to offer a 30-day window for a late-fall title, although it would not reveal