'War' invades home video on Nov. 22 By Thomas K. Arnold
With DreamWorks today announcing a Nov. 22 release date for the "War of the Worlds" DVD, the final landscape of the fourth-quarter home entertainment selling season is all but complete.
The announcement that the $231.8 million theatrical grosser would share the pre-Thanksgiving Tuesday with Warner Home Video's "The Polar Express" comes on the heels of two other big films dropping into the quarter.
Warner has set a Nov. 8 DVD release date for "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," which has grossed nearly $198 million in U.S. theaters, and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has slotted the $151 million summer theatrical hit "Fantastic Four" into a Dec. 6 DVD release date.
All three films also will be available on VHS; "Fantastic Four" will be issued on the Universal Media Disc, for viewing on Sony's hand-held PlayStation Portable as well.
The three films -- the year's No. 2, No. 4 and No. 9 movies in terms of theatrical earnings -- will arrive on DVD with a bevy of bonus materials.
A two-disc limited edition of "War of the Worlds" will include a documentary on H.G. Wells, who wrote the book upon which the film was based; a chat with director Steven Spielberg and star Tom Cruise about their experiences on the set; an interview with Gene Berry and Ann Robinson, two of the stars from the 1953 "The War of the Worlds" movie; and several production diaries and other behind-the-scenes extras.
A two-disc "deluxe edition" of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" includes a documentary on author Roald Dahl; a featurette on the trained nut-sorting squirrels; and several interactive features and activities centered on the characters called Oompa Loompas.
The "Fantastic Four" DVD will feature a never-before-seen preview of the upcoming theatrical release "X-Men 3," hosted by producer and Marvel Enterprises chief Avi Arad, along with a making-of documentary, exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the cast's superhero promotional world tour, three deleted scenes, two new music videos and more.
Most of the year's other top theatrical grossers already have been slotted for fourth-quarter dates. "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith," the year's No. 1 movie, will be out Nov. 8. Third-ranked "Batman Begins" is coming Oct. 18. "Madagascar," at No. 5, will arrive on video Nov. 15. "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" (No. 7) bows Nov. 29, "The Longest Yard" (No. 8) streets Sept. 20 and "Robots" is out a week later, on Nov. 27.
Of the year's top 10 films, only "Wedding Crashers" has not yet been announced for home video.