Sin City fans must be ecstatic — and frustrated. Today's release of the bold action film comes just 4 1/2 months after it hit theaters, but the DVD has just one extra: an eight-minute making-of featurette.
Austin's Robert Rodriguez knows their pain. Having co-directed Sin City with Frank Miller, author of the source graphic novels, he felt special obligation to the material. But most Sin City extras — including new footage — must wait for its "real DVD" down the line, he says.
Don't blame Rodriguez. Blame Hollywood, which is shrinking the window between theatrical and DVD campaigns from six months to four. It's doing this to combat illegal downloads, exploit first-run marketing campaigns and cash in more quickly on the lucrative DVD market.
There's even talk of selling bare-bones DVDs of films at the theaters where they open.
''I know of a packaging company that's come up with a prototype of selling a no-frills disc when people come out of the theater," said Larry Jaffee, editor of New York-based DVD trade magazine Medialine.
At the least, he thinks studios ''will be putting out more plain-vanilla releases sooner, on the tail-end of a theatrical release."
That seems to be the plan at Disney. With his studio's theatrical arm losing money, incoming CEO Robert Iger says he wants to push Disney films quickly to DVD.
Discs remain a huge cash cow, even if their milking has leveled off. Movie DVD revenues are expected to top $24 billion this year, compared to $9 billion at theaters.